Each week, Inside Addiction rounds up the biggest news and trends related to mental health and addiction. For the first full week of November, the top stories include: new details about rapper Mac Miller’s death, how Ohio could use medical marijuana to treat opioid addiction and how exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attacks are linked to severe substance use.
More Information Revealed Regarding Mac Miller’s Death
A Los Angeles County coroner said that rapper Mac Miller died in September from an overdose that included three substances in his system.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and is often used by accident as fentanyl shares a resemblance to other substances. [KDVR]
Ohio Could Use Medical Marijuana for Treating Opioid Addiction
An Ohio medical expert is pushing the state’s government to consider allowing marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction.
The Midwestern state continues to struggle with overdose deaths related to opioids. Ohio’s overdose death rate jumped from 24.6 to 39.1 between 2014 and 2016, in large part due to the rising prevalence of fentanyl and heroin use. Dr. Stuart Leeds is researching data related to medical marijuana as a treatment tool for addiction in hopes of solving the overdose crisis, and he plans to send that information to the State Medical Board of Ohio.
“Patients have been conducting their own self-experiments on a variety of street drugs for decades,” said Leeds who teaches family medicine at Wright State University outside of Dayton. “They know more about what marijuana will do for their chronic pain and addiction problems than we do.” [Boston Globe]
Exposure to 9/11 Tragedy Raises Risk of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a new study that suggests people directly exposed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, have an increased risk of abusing or dying from drugs or alcohol.
“Following a major disaster, alcohol- and drug-related mortality may be increased,” said Dr. Jim Cone and other colleagues from the department.
The study included more than 71,000 people who were exposed to the 9/11 attacks and all of them were enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry. The results of the study indicate that many participants suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. They were two times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than people not exposed to the attacks. [HealthDaily]
New Zealand Gangs Pushing Meth Over Weed
Research revealed that gangs in New Zealand are targeting small towns and rural areas in the country for meth distribution.
According to the research, which was revealed at a conference on drugs and alcohol in New Zealand, meth is more available than cannabis in these areas. The study was called “Determinants of High Availability of Methamphetamine, Cannabis, LSD and Ecstasy in New Zealand”. The findings show that compared to areas with little or no meth, cannabis was not as available in areas where meth was prevalent. [Newshub]
Adolescent Cannabis Use Alters Mental Development
Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago explain that adolescent marijuana use can alter the functionality of neurons in the brain areas that are related to decision-making and planning.
The data was revealed at Neuroscience 2018, which is the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. The researchers studied animals and the structural development of their prefrontal cortex. Animals exposed to a synthetic cannabinoid showed a reduction in development around their inhibitory cells. [ScienceDaily]
Mental Health-Related ER Visits Rising Among Children
A study that tracked emergency room visits from 2012 to 2016 found that the number of children who went to the ER for mental health issues dramatically increased in that timeframe.
In 2012, there were 50.4 emergency room visits due to mental health concerns per 100,000 children. In 2016, the number was up to 78.5 emergency room visits per 100,000 children. That figure falls between 2 percent and 5 percent of all emergency room visits involving children. In the United States, an estimated 1.7 million children have a psychiatric disorder. [Tech Times]
More College Students Receiving Treatment for Mental Health Disorders
The American Psychiatric Association revealed that the number of college students being diagnosed and treated for mental health struggles is rising. A survey of 155,000 students across 196 campuses found that around 34 percent of students in 2017 were treated for a mental health disorder. In 2007, only 19 percent received treatment.
Climate Change Can Impact Our Mental Health
Significant alterations in the world’s climate, including rising temperatures and more hurricanes, can increase the prevalence of mental health disorders in the United States. A new study explains that mental struggles will worsen as the climate continues to warm.
The study included 2 million U.S. residents who were surveyed from 2000 to 2012 and found that a 1-degree-Celsius average temperature increase over a five-year period was linked to a 2-percent increase in mental health issues. That equals to nearly 2 million additional people struggling with mental health disorders. [PsychologyToday]