Each week, Inside Addiction recaps timely stories and topics related to addiction and mental health disorders. Here are the top news headlines for July 6, 2018.

Top news headlines for Friday, July 6, 2018

Sculpture of Heroin Spoon Placed Outside Drugmaker’s Headquarters

In an artful protest, a Connecticut artist and a gallery owner placed an 11-foot long, 800-pound sculpture of a bent drug spoon in front of drugmaker Purdue Pharma’s headquarters. Spoons are often used to “cook” drugs, like heroin, into liquid form prior to injection. Purdue Pharma, a major manufacturer of opioids, is being sued by local and state governments for allegedly deceiving doctors and patients about the risks of the pharmaceutical company’s opioid medication OxyContin. The company denies the allegations made in the lawsuits. [The New York Times]

‘Black Hawk Down’ Veteran Takes on Opioid Epidemic

Former U.S. soldier Norman Hooten, whose heroics during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia in 1993 were depicted in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down,” is on a new mission to alleviate opioid misuse among veterans. While in the Army, Hooten knew fellow soldiers who had fatally overdosed on drugs. Now a clinical pharmacist, Hooten has a passion for working with veterans experiencing addiction. In the future, he hopes to help come up with solutions to assist veterans in avoiding opioid misuse. [West Palm Beach VA Medical Center]

Midlife Fitness Could Reduce Depression

Exercise could decrease a middle-aged person’s risk of depression and cardiovascular disease later in life, according to a 2018 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers examined 17,989 men and women whose average age was 50. Among this group, 2,701 diagnoses of depression occurred from 1971 to 2009. Researchers found that individuals who increased their fitness midlife were 16 percent less likely than those who rarely exercised to experience depression. [The New York Times]

New York and Virginia to Mandate Mental Health Education in Schools

On July 1, Virginia and New York became the first two states to enact laws that require mental health education in schools. The New York law mandates that the health curriculum in all K-12 schools incorporate material about mental health. The Virginia law requires that mental health education be part of the health curriculum for ninth- and 10th-grade students. Mental illness has been a common topic of discussion in recent months, especially after the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. [CNN]

Stress Disorders Increase Risk of Autoimmune Disease

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that stress disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder, are associated with autoimmune disease like Crohn’s disease or arthritis. Researchers examined more than 106,000 patients with a severe stress condition, acute stress reaction or adjustment disorder. The results showed that people with a stress disorder were 36 percent more likely than those who did not deal with severe stress to experience an autoimmune disease. [The New York Times]

Using Opioids and Antianxiety Drugs Increases Risk of Overdose

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people simultaneously using benzodiazepines, a class of antianxiety drugs, and opioids were five times more likely than individuals taking just opioids to experience an opioid-related overdose during their first 90 days of concurrent use. Risk was doubled among individuals who used both classes of medications during the next 90 days. In their conclusion, researchers encouraged the implementation of policies that deter the concurrent use of benzodiazepines and opioids. [JAMA]

Opioid Addiction Linked to Narcolepsy

A UCLA study discovered that people addicted to heroin have 54 percent more hypocretin-producing neurons when compared with individuals without a substance use disorder. Hypocretin is a neurochemical important in the regulation of sleep. People with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, typically have high numbers of these neurons. Experimenting on mice, researchers found that opioids like heroin can cause high levels of hypocretin. [UCLA Newsroom]

Retail Stores Experiment with Blue Light to Prevent Drug Use

To deter drug use, many retailers have installed blue lights in its restrooms. Blue lights make it harder for people injecting drugs to see their veins. Turkey Hill Minit Markets, a retail chain based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has received positive feedback since experimenting with blue bulbs. However, previous studies indicated that people addicted to opioids still try to inject drugs despite the presence of blue lights. Other critics of the implementation of blue lights say that this approach further stigmatizes addiction. [ABC News]

Some Mental Health Disorders Share DNA, Study Finds

Psychiatric disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia and schizophrenia are linked by genetics, according to a report by international researchers. Researchers analyzed the genetic risks of 25 mental health disorders in nearly 900,000 individuals. According to the study’s results, many mental illnesses share common genes, and personality traits like neuroticism are associated with several mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. [Scimex]

James Blake Gets Candid About His Mental Illness

British musician James Blake recently talked about his struggles with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. As a guest speaker for the Performing Arts Medicine Association’s annual symposium, Blake said that his depression caused thoughts of suicide while on tour early in his career. He also noted how unhealthy eating habits worsened his depression. However, Blake explained that eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and support from his girlfriend helped him manage his mental illness. [Billboard]

Getting Help for Substance Use Disorders

Addiction and mental illness affect millions of Americans. If you struggle with substance use, mental health problems or both, contact The Recovery Village. With facilities across the United States, The Recovery Village can help you heal in a safe, secure and supportive environment. Make the call today.

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July 6, 2018: What You Need To Know About Addiction and Mental Health
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