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Latest News Around the Web

Study: Younger Children May Also Engage In Nonsuicidal Self-Injury.

he AP (6/11, Tanner) reports that even young children may engage in self-harm, also known as nonsuicidal self-injury, according to a study published online June 11 in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers asked 655 children “whether they’d engaged in any self-harming activities and, if they had, what kind and how often,” the Washington Post (6/11, Huget) “The Checkup” blog reports.

The study revealed that nearly 8% of children in third grade, 4% of children in sixth grade, and 13 percent of teens in ninth grade had engaged in some sort of self-injurious behavior, such as hitting, cutting, or burning themselves, Reuters (6/11, Pittman) reports. Among younger children, the biggest self-injurious behavior was hitting. Teens, however, were more likely to cut themselves. The study authors explained that children who self-harm are often depressed, anxious or angry and engage in the behavior as a way of dealing with these strong emotions.

Related Links:

— “Self-injury starts early with Denver kids, study indicates,”Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press, June 11, 2012.

NIH Reports Increase In Older Americans Abusing Prescription Medications, Illegal Drugs.

The Mobile (AL) Press-Register (6/8, Andrews) reports, “A new national survey reveals the number of 50- to 59-year-olds reporting abuse of illicit drugs, including the non-medical use of prescription drugs, more than doubled from 2002 to 2010, going from 907,000 to 2,375,000, or from 2.7 to 5.8 percent, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health. Among those 65 and older, 414,000 used illicit drugs in 2010, health data showed.” Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said, “Abusing these substances can worsen age-related health conditions, cause injuries and lead to addiction.”

NBC Nightly News (6/7, story 6, 2:15, Williams) reported, “Every few years the Centers for Disease Control surveys this nation’s high school students about some of the risks they take on a regular basis, the kind of things parents suspect and fear the most.” On Thursday, the CDC released the results from its 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The CDC’s Howell Wechsler CDC said, “It’s frustrating that while we’re making great progress in increasing seat belt use and reducing the number of kids who are driving while drinking, other safety issues pop up in their place, related to new technology.”

According to the Los Angeles Times (6/8, Healy) “Booster Shots” blog, the report indicates that “only 8% of American high-schoolers own up to never wearing a seat belt — down from 26% in 1991. In the 30 days preceding their response to government survey-takers, 24% had gotten into the car with a driver who’d been drinking, and that’s down from 40% who had done so when asked in 1991.”

However, the AP (6/8, Subscription Publication) reports, “In the survey, about 58 percent of high school seniors said they had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month. About 43 percent of high school juniors said they had done so.”

Related Links:

— “New study: Prescription and illicit drug abuse rises among 50- to 59-year-olds,”Casandra Andrews, Al.com, June 7, 2012.

Teens With Depression Who Receive Treatment May Be Less Likely To Abuse Drugs.

HealthDay (6/8, Preidt) reports, “Teens with major depression who receive and respond to treatment are less likely to abuse drugs in the following years,” according to a study published in the April-May issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. “The study included 192 participants, aged 12 to 18, at 11 sites across the United States who were treated for major depression and then followed for five years.” Researchers found that “during the follow-up, 10 percent of [teens] whose depression receded after 12 weeks of treatment later abused drugs, compared with 25 percent of those who did not respond to depression treatment.”

Teens With Mental Health Disorders More Likely To Become Addicted To Opioid Painkillers. MedWire (6/8, Mahendra) reports, “Adolescents with mental health disorders are significantly more likely to become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers than those without mental disorders,” according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. “A longitudinal analysis of 59,077 adolescents and young adults aged 13-24 years” also “showed that those with mental health disorders were significantly more likely to be prescribed opioids for chronic back pain, neck pain, headache, or arthritis/joint pain than those without mental health disorders.”

Related Links:

— “Depressed Teens Who Respond to Treatment Less Likely to Abuse Drugs,”Robert Preidt , HealthDay, June 7, 2012.

Pace Of US Military Suicides Hits Record Level.

The CBS Evening News (6/7, lead story, 2:20, Pelley) led off its Thursday broadcast by reporting that the “war in Iraq is over, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, but the pace of military suicides is actually increasing to a record level. Pentagon figures show that as of this past Monday, 154 service members had taken their lives so far in 2012, an average of more than one a day, and much higher than the 138 killed so far this year in Afghanistan.” Pentagon “officials say one possible reason for this unexpected spike in suicides is the poor economy, which has also caused an increase in civilian suicides.”

The AP (6/8, Burns) reports, “Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year — the fastest pace in the nation’s decade of war.” The “numbers are rising among the 1.4 million active-duty military personnel despite years of effort to encourage troops to seek help with mental health problems.” The “renewed surge in suicides has caught the attention of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,” who in an internal memo sent last month to the “Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders” said, “We must continue to fight to eliminate the stigma from those with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.”

Related Links:

— “AP IMPACT: Suicides are surging among US troops,”Robert Burns, Associated Press, June 8, 2012.

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