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Latest News Around the Web

Department Of Veterans Affairs To Hire More Mental-Health Clinicians.

The New York Times (4/19, Dao, Subscription Publication) reports, “The Department of Veterans Affairs will announce on Thursday that it plans to hire about 1,600 additional psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health clinicians in an effort to reduce long wait times for services at many veterans medical centers. The hiring…would increase the department’s mental health staff by nearly 10 percent at a time when the veterans health system is being overwhelmed not just by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also by aging veterans from the Vietnam era.” The Times notes that VA’s “announcement comes as the department is facing intensified criticism for delays in providing psychological services to veterans at some of its major medical centers.”

Related Links:

— “Veterans Department to Increase Mental Health Staffing, “James Dao, The New York Times, April 19, 2012.

Speed, Ecstasy Use By Adolescents Associated With Higher Risk For Later Depression.

HealthDay (4/19, Mozes) reports, “Teens who use the party drugs ecstasy (MDMA) and speed (methamphetamine and/or amphetamine) appear to face a notably higher risk of depression afterward,” according to a study published online April 18 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. “Interviews and mental health assessments conducted among nearly 3,900 10th-grade residents of Quebec revealed that, compared to non-users, adolescents who acknowledged taking either speed or ecstasy had a 60 percent to 70 percent greater risk of experiencing telltale signs of depression a year after their last recorded use.” In addition, adolescents “who said they had tried both speed and ecstasy showed double the risk for depressive symptoms, when compared to non-users.”

Related Links:

— “Use of Ecstasy, Speed by Teens Tied to Later Depression,”Alan Mozes , HealthDay, April 19, 2012.

Study: Tattoos, Piercings May Be Linked To Heavier Drinking.

HealthDay (4/17, Preidt) reports that according to a study published online April 16 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, individuals sporting piercings and tattoos (body art) “tended to drink more alcohol than their peers.” After asking “nearly 3,000 French youth to take a breathalyzer test as they left bars and other drinking establishments,” researchers found through breathalyzer readings that “those with tattoos and body piercings had consumed more alcohol than those without the adornments.”

Related Links:

— “Tattoos, Piercings Tied to Heavier Drinking in French Study,”Robert Preidt , HealthDay, April 16, 2012.

SAMHSA Report Sees Growing Dependency Risk Among Patients Over 50.

The Miami Herald (4/17, Burton) reports, “According to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of US adults age 50 or older needing substance abuse treatment is expected to double from 2.8 million to 5.7 million by the year 2020. A 2010 report by the Drug Abuse Warning Network said drugs used for pain relief, anxiety or insomnia were involved in almost a quarter of adverse drug reactions among older adults.” One specialist said that “for about 80 percent of the population, prescribing these drugs is the right thing to do,” but “for about 20 to 25 percent…there is a risk of developing a dependency.”

Related Links:

— “Substance abuse in seniors expected to rise,”Rebecca Burton , The Miami Herald, April 16, 2012.

Small Study: 12-Step Programs May Benefit Teens Undergoing Substance Abuse Treatment.

HealthDay (4/17, Preidt) reports, “Teens undergoing treatment for alcohol or drug abuse can benefit from the 12-step program used by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA),” according to a study published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. “The new study included 127 teen substance abuse-treatment outpatients (95 males, 32 females, aged 14 to 19) who were assessed when they began treatment and three, six and 12 months later.” Notably, “more meeting attendance was associated with significantly better substance use outcomes — particularly attending meetings at least once per week or more,” the study’s author suggested.

Medscape (4/17, Hitt) points out that the “study was funded by a grant award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.”

Related Links:

— “12-Step Meetings May Help Teens Beat Alcohol, Drug Abuse,”Robert Preidt , HealthDay, April 16, 2012.

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