Adults Who Use Cannabis May Be Significantly More Likely To Use Nonmedical Prescription Opioids

Healio (9/29, Oldt) reported, “Adults who used cannabis were significantly more likely to use nonmedical prescription opioids,” researchers found after analyzing “data from wave 1 (2001-2002) and wave 2 (2004-2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.” The findings were published online Sept. 26 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association.

Related Links:

— “Cannabis use may increase risk for opioid abuse,” Olfson M, et al., Healio, September 29, 2017.

Older Adults Who Have Lost Their Sense Of Smell May Have An Increased Risk Of Dementia

HealthDay (9/29, Preidt) reported, “Older adults who’ve lost their sense of smell appear to have an increased risk of dementia,” researchers concluded after conducting a “long-term study” that “included nearly 3,000 participants, aged 57 to 85, who were tested on their ability to identify five common odors.” The findings were published online Sept. 25 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Related Links:

— “Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, September 29, 2017.

Autistic Young Adults May Be More Likely To Also Have A Psychiatric Condition

The NPR (10/1, Haelle) “Shots” blog reported, “Young adults on the autism spectrum” may be “more likely to also have been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, such as depression, anxiety and” attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) “than are typically developing people or those with other developmental disabilities,” researchers found after examining data from two large “groups of young adults, ages 18-24, in Ontario, Canada.” The findings were published online Sept. 13 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Related Links:

— “Many Young Adults With Autism Also Have Mental Health Issues,” TARA HAELLE, NPR, October 1, 2017.

Senators: Despite Good Strides, VA Needs To Do More To Reduce Suicides Among Former Military

MedPage Today (9/28, Frieden) reports that at a Sept. 27 hearing of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, “several senators said” that the “Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made good strides in reducing suicides among former military personnel, but much more still needs to be done.” For example, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said, “VA data suggest that approximately 20 veterans commit suicide every day,” but “on average, only six were enrolled in VA healthcare.” Hearing witness Craig Bryan, PsyD, executive director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, emphasized the importance of “treatment…done properly.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, “What I am hearing…is that suicide rates are increasing among veterans who lack access, either because of geographic difficulties or because of less-than-honorable discharges.”

Related Links:

— “Much Work Remains to Reduce Veterans’ Suicide Rates,” Joyce Frieden, MedPage Today, September 28, 2017.

Middle-Aged Adults Had Highest Increases In Suicide Death Rates From 1999 To 2014

According to Healio (9/28, Oldt), “middle-aged adults had the highest increases in suicide death rates from 1999 to 2014 compared with other age groups,” Kathryn D. Piscopo, PhD, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found after analyzing “data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) Mortality file for adults aged 45 to 64 years.” The report is available here.

Related Links:

— “Suicide death more common in middle-aged adults,” Kathryn D . Piscopo , PhD, Healio, September 28, 2017.

Even Kids With Severe Autism Can Learn Techniques To Avoid Drowning

STAT (9/27, Samuel) reports that children with autism often are attracted to bodies of water and can end up drowning. In fact, “drowning is the most common fatal injury” among youngsters with autism. Now, “a study published in September in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders offers preliminary evidence that even children with severe autism can learn techniques to avoid drowning.” The study abstract points out that seven kids with “moderate to severe” autism spectrum disorder took part in the study.

Related Links:

— “Lakes and pools can be deadly for children with autism. But tailored swim lessons can save lives,” LEAH SAMUEL, STAT, September 27, 2017.

Study Examines Association Of Gender With Recurrence Of ASD Among Siblings

Healio (9/27, Bortz) reports, “Female children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder [ASD] are more likely to have younger siblings also diagnosed with the disorder, with higher rates observed in younger male siblings regardless of the older sibling’s sex,” researchers found after analyzing data on “1,583,271 families participating in commercial health care insurance plans.” The findings were published online Sept. 25 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Related Links:

— “Autism risk associated with gender of older sibling,” Palmer N, et al., Healio, September 27, 2017.

Analysis: Specialized Family Treatment Courts Can Save Opioid Victims’ Lives.

The New York Times (9/26, Schonbek, Subscription Publication) reports on an innovative program called Family Treatment Court in Chautauqua County, New York. The program provides personalized treatment programs tailored to each participant’s needs, including caseworkers and a presiding judge who tracks their progress as they complete drug and alcohol treatment, keeps them out of the criminal justice system, and helps keep their children out of the foster care system. There are 370 such centers across the country. The article profiles a recovering young woman, Samantha Coleman, who has completed treatment and was able to keep custody of her two daughters through the program.

Related Links:

— “Courts That Save Opioid Victims’ Family Life,” Amelia Schonbek, New York Times, September 26, 2017.

Postpartum Depression After First Birth More Likely After Subsequent Pregnancies

HealthDay (9/26, Thompson) reports, “Postpartum depression occurs 27 to 46 times more frequently during subsequent pregnancies for mothers who experienced it after their first birth,” researchers found after analyzing “data from Danish national registries on more than 457,000 women who delivered their first child between 1996 and 2013 and had no prior medical history of depression.” According to HealthDay, “postpartum depression generally takes hold of a new mother within days of delivery, although sometimes depression develops during pregnancy, according to the US National Institute of Mental Health.” The findings were published online Sept. 26 in PLOS Medicine.

Related Links:

— “Postpartum Depression Likely to Recur With Future Pregnancies
,” Dennis Thompson, HealthDay, September 26, 2017.

FDA Cracks Down On Websites Illegally Selling Medications

The Washington Post (9/25, McGinley) reports that the Food and Drug Administration “targeted more than 500 websites it said were illegally selling unapproved versions of prescription medications, including opioids, antibiotics and injectable epinephrine products.” The agency’s crackdown was a part of “a global operation called Pangea X, led by the international police organization Interpol.” The effort “involved police, customs and regulatory officials from 123 countries and resulted in the seizure of millions of doses of dietary supplements, pain reduction [drugs], epilepsy medication, erectile dysfunction [drugs] and antipsychotic medication, Interpol said.” In a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “The ease with which consumers can purchase opioid products online is especially concerning to me, given the immense public health crisis of addiction facing our country.”

Reuters (9/25, Clarke) reports that the FDA issued warning letters and seized “nearly 100 website domain names, including and” Gottlieb “said the agency has tripled its international mail inspectors and doubled its cybercrime and port of entry agents” as “part of a broader plan the FDA is developing to intercept illegal drugs.”

Additional coverage is provided by MedPage Today (9/25, Fiore).

Related Links:

— “FDA targets hundreds of ‘rogue’ websites illegally selling opioids and other prescription drugs,” Laurie McGinley, Washington Post, September 25, 2017.