RSS Feed This is an RSS Feed en Thu, 17 Jan 2019 02:23:20 +0000 Thu, 17 Jan 2019 02:23:20 +0000 5 Odds of dying from accidental opioid overdose in the U.S. surpass those of dying in car accident <p>(CNN) - For the first time on record the odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the United States are now greater than those of dying in an automobile accident.</p><p>The grim finding comes from the National Safety Council which analyzed preventable injury and fatality statistics from 2017.</p><p>The NSC also found the lifetime odds of death for this form of overdose were greater than the risk of death from falls, pedestrian incidents, drowning and fire.</p><p>Examining a variety of federal and state data the NSC found the lifetime odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose were 1 in 96. For motor vehicle accidents the odds were 1 in 103 and 1 in 114 for falls. The lifetime odds of suicide were greater, at 1 in 88.</p><p>"Too many people still believe the opioid crisis is abstract and will not impact them. Many still do not see it as a major threat to them or their family," said Maureen Vogel, spokeswoman for the National Safety Council told CNN in an email. "These data show the gravity of the crisis. We have known for some time that opioid overdose is an everyday killer, and these odds illustrate that in a very jarring way."</p><p>The NSC highlights, however, that the odds given are statistical averages over the whole US population and do not necessarily reflect the chances of death for a particular person from a particular external cause. In addition they are lifetime odds, based on dividing the one-year odds by the life expectancy of a person born in 2017.</p><p>In 2017 preventable injury deaths were 169,936 -- an increase of 5.3% from the year before and a 96% increase compared to the figures in 1992.</p><p>"The data really underscore the importance of knowing the biggest risks to our safety," said Vogel. "The Council calculates the Odds of Dying not to scare Americans but to empower them to make safer decisions and improve their chances of longevity."</p><p>The organization has highlighted these numbers in a bid to help prevent future deaths from preventable causes.</p><p>"For too long, preventable deaths and injuries have been called 'accidents,' implying unavoidable acts of God or fate that we are powerless to stop. This is simply not true," it wrote. "In the US, preventable injuries are at an all-time high."</p><p>Comparing 2017 to 2016, home and public deaths saw large increases of 6% or more being driven largely by an 11% increase in poisoning deaths (including opioid overdoses) and a 5% increase in fall deaths (primarily among the older population).</p><p>In 2018, unintentional injury was found to be the leading cause of death in the US, with more than 61,000 people aged 1 to 44 dying from this cause in 2016 -- nearly twice as many as from cancer and heart disease combined. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these deaths were predominantly a result of motor vehicle accidents and unintentional poisonings.</p><p>Last month the CDC reported life expectancy in the United States declined from 2016 to 2017 due to increased drug overdoses and suicides. One study also found that a growing number of children and adolescents in the United States are dying from opioid poisonings.</p><p>"What began more than 2 decades ago as a public health problem primarily among young and middle-aged white males is now an epidemic of prescription and illicit opioid abuse that is taking a toll on all segments of US society," the researchers wrote.</p><p>Overdose deaths reached a new high in 2017, topping 70,000, while the suicide rate increased by 3.7%, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reports. Illegally manufactured fentanyl was suggested to be the driving force.</p><p>From 2013 to 2017, drug overdose death rates increased in 35 of 50 states and DC, with significant increases in death rates involving synthetic opioids reported in 15 of 20 states, the CDC said in a previous statement.</p><p>A separate December report found that in 2016, fentanyl surpassed heroin as the most commonly used drug in overdose deaths in the US.</p><p>Source: CNN Health:&nbsp;</p> Tue, 15 Jan 2019 06:00:00 +0000 Surgeon general warns against e-cigarettes, vaping <p>(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. surgeon general is warning against the use of e-cigarettes, declaring Tuesday that any "use among young people is unsafe" and telling parents to be on the lookout for vaping devices that look like computer flash drives.</p><p>It's a considerably sterner and more specific warning than in 2016, when the same federal office identified vaping as an emerging public health concern. Since then, studies have shown a sharp uptick among young people using the devices and companies that sell the liquid nicotine in flavors that appeal to teens.</p><p>U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, known as the "nation's doctor," said of particular concern is the availability of new products, including ones shaped like a USB flash drive. The office has released photos of what the devices look like as a resource to parents.</p><p>One such device made by the company JUUL saw a 600 percent surge in sales in recent years, according to Adams. And a typical JUUL cartridge, or "pod," contains about as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes, his office stated.</p><p>JUUL has said its goal is to help adult smokers by providing them with a "true alternative" to combustible cigarettes. The company has rolled out an age-verification system for its products and also offered to rein in sales of flavored vaping devices popular with younger consumers, including mango, creme and cucumber.</p><p>But the industry's response wasn't enough to preempt the surgeon general from issuing its official nationwide warning Tuesday.</p><p>"These products also use nicotine salts, which allow particularly high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation than the free-base nicotine that has traditionally been used in tobacco products, including e-cigarettes," according to the surgeon general.</p><p>"This is of particular concern for young people, because it could make it easier for them to initiate the use of nicotine through these products and also could make it easier to progress to regular e-cigarette use and nicotine dependence," the office added.</p><p>E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn liquid nicotine into an vapor that can be inhaled. E-cigarettes have been pushed by manufacturers as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes because it doesn't produce tar.</p><p>As a general rule, doctors say it's not safe to casually inhale any type of smoke or chemical vapor. In addition to its addictiveness, nicotine can have damaging developmental effects on the human brain for people younger than 25, according to health experts.</p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 5 high school students use the products. That's more than three million current e-cigarette users in the nation's high schools, up from 220,000 students in 2011, according to the CDC.</p><p>The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has imposed fines on e-cigarette retailers for unlawfully selling e-cigarette products to minors.</p><p>Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.</p> Tue, 18 Dec 2018 06:00:00 +0000 U.S. life expectancy declines again, a dismal trend not seen since World War I <p>Life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017, the government said Thursday in a bleak series of reports that showed a nation still in the grip of escalating drug and suicide crises. </p><p>The data continued the longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918. That four-year period included World War I and a flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the United States and perhaps 50 million worldwide. </p><p>Public health and demographic experts reacted with alarm to the release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual statistics, which are considered a reliable barometer of a society’s health. In most developed nations, life expectancy has marched steadily upward for decades. </p><p>“I think this is a very dismal picture of health in the United States,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world. It shouldn’t be declining in the United States.”<br><br>“After three years of stagnation and decline, what do we do now?” asked S.V. Subramanian, a professor of population health and geography at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Do we say this is the new normal? Or can we say this is a tractable problem?” <br><br>Overall, Americans could expect to live 78.6 years at birth in 2017, down a tenth of a year from the 2016 estimate, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Men could anticipate a life span of 76.1 years, down a tenth of a year from 2016. Life expectancy for women in 2017 was 81.1 years, unchanged from the previous year.Drug overdoses set another annual record in 2017, cresting at 70,237 — up from 63,632 the year before, the government said in a companion report. The opioid epidemic continued to take a relentless toll, with 47,600 deaths in 2017 from drugs sold on the street such as fentanyl and heroin, as well as prescription narcotics. That was also a record number, driven largely by an increase in fentanyl deaths. </p><p>Since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths has more than quadrupled. Deaths attributed to opioids were nearly six times greater in 2017 than they were in 1999.</p><p>Deaths from legal painkillers did not increase in 2017. There were 14,495 overdose deaths attributed to narcotics such as oxycodone and hydrocodone and 3,194 from methadone, which is used as a painkiller. Those totals were virtually identical to the numbers in 2016. The number of heroin deaths, 15,482, also did not rise from the previous year. <br><br>Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the Center for Health Statistics, said the leveling off of prescription drug deaths may reflect a small impact from efforts in recent years to curb the diversion of legal painkillers to users and dealers on the streets. Those measures include prescription drug monitoring programs that help prevent substance abusers from obtaining multiple prescriptions by “doctor shopping.”</p><p>Others noted programs that may also have helped: The overdose antidote naloxone has been made more widely available in many places; Rhode Island has made efforts to educate substance abusers as they leave jail, a time when they are particularly vulnerable to overdose; and Vermont and other states have bolstered treatment programs. States that have expanded their Medicaid programs are also able to offer more treatment for users.</p><p>Anderson said provisional data for the first four months of 2018 show a plateau and possibly a small decline in drug overdose deaths.</p><p>But Sharfstein, a former secretary of health in Maryland, said the heroin numbers reveal that fentanyl is pushing that drug out of the illicit market in some places.</p><p>“The opioid market has been completely taken over by fentanyl,” Sharfstein said.</p><p>Indeed, the new data shows that illicit fentanyl-related deaths surged again, from 19,413 in 2016 to 28,466 in 2017.</p><p>As large as it was, that 47 percent increase was smaller than the jump between 2015 and 2016, when the number of deaths from fentanyl and its analogues more than doubled. (The total number of opioid deaths is smaller than the sum of the categories because some people die with multiple drugs in their systems.)<br><br>The geographic disparity in overdose deaths continued in 2017. West Virginia again led the nation with 57.8 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Nebraska, by contrast, had just 8.1 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents.<br><br>Other factors in the life expectancy decline include a spike in deaths from flu last winter and increases in deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alz­heimer’s disease, strokes and suicide. Deaths from heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, which had been declining until 2011, continued to level off.Deaths from cancer continued their long, steady, downward trend.<br><br>The CDC issues its health statistics report each December. The 2017 report is the third in a row to show a decline in life expectancy.<br><br>Nearly a year later, the agency combines each year’s data with additional information from Medicare. In the past two years, that has resulted in tiny adjustments to the overall life expectancy number.<br><br>By the revised measure, life expectancy in 2015 and 2016 was flat, at 78.7, a decline from 78.9 in 2014. Any revision for 2017’s estimate of 78.6 years will come next year.<br><br>In a third report, the government detailed the ongoing growth of deaths from suicide, which has climbed steadily since 1999 and grown worse since 2006.</p><p>Most notable is the widening gap between urban and rural Americans. Suicide rates in the most rural counties are now nearly double those in the most urban counties.</p><p>Overall, suicides increased by a third between 1999 and 2017, the report showed. In urban America, the rate is 11.1 per 100,000 people; in the most rural parts of the country, it is 20 per 100,000.</p><p>A variety of factors determine suicide rates, but one that may help explain its greater prevalence in rural areas is access to guns, said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.<br><br>“Higher suicide rates in rural areas are due to nearly 60 percent of rural homes having a gun versus less than half of homes in urban areas,” Humphreys wrote in an email. “Having easily available lethal means is a big risk factor for suicide.”<br><br>Sharfstein said the most lamentable aspect of the crises is that policymakers know which approaches make a difference, such as medically assisted treatment for drug abusers and increased availability of mental health services in states where they are lacking.<br><br>“So the frustration that many of us feel is that there are things that could save many lives,” he said, “and we are failing to make those services available.”<br><br></p><p>SOURCE: Bernstein, Lenny. (2018, November). U.S. life expectancy declines again, a dismal trend, not seen since World War I. The Washington Post, Retrieved from</p> Thu, 29 Nov 2018 06:00:00 +0000 Prescription Opioids: Even When Prescribed by a Doctor <p><span contenteditable="false" class="f-video-editor fr-fvn fr-tnv"><iframe width="640" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></span></p> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 05:00:00 +0000 Alcohol is a leading cause of death, disease worldwide, study says <!--StartFragment--><p>Alcohol is killing more people globally than we originally thought, according to a new study.&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="">study</a>, published Thursday in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, found that alcohol, such as beer and wine, is a leading risk factor for death and disease, associated with 2.8 million deaths each year and the seventh-leading risk factor for premature death and disability globally in 2016.&nbsp;</p><p>Researchers used 694 studies to estimate worldwide drinking patterns and used 592 studies plus&nbsp;28 million people to learn about alcohol's health risks between 1990 and 2016 in 195 countries.</p><p>They&nbsp;found drinking alcohol was associated with&nbsp;nearly 1 in 10 deaths of people ages 15 to 49 years old. Causes included&nbsp;tuberculosis, road injuries&nbsp;and self-harm. For people over 50, cancers were cited as a leading cause of alcohol-related death (about 27 percent&nbsp;of deaths in women and 19 percent of deaths in men).</p><p>Researchers found that the "burden" of alcohol consumption was worse than previously reported. They called for more regulations around alcohol use and said there is no amount of alcohol that is healthy.&nbsp;</p><p><!--StartFragment-->“Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol,” lead author Max Griswold of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington said.<!--EndFragment--></p><!--StartFragment--><p>He said the research showed the links between drinking alcohol and the risk of cancer, injuries and infectious diseases are greater than the protective effects of alcohol linked to heart disease in women.&nbsp;</p><p>“The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to shed light on how much alcohol contributes to global death and disability,” he said in a statement.</p><!--EndFragment--><p>More research must still be done to explain how drinking patterns affect&nbsp;health. For example, a&nbsp;glass of wine every evening versus binge drinking.&nbsp;Griswold said there are also unknowns around health once people stop drinking.&nbsp;</p><p>The most recent&nbsp;Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, suggests women have no more than one drink daily and men have no more than two.&nbsp;The&nbsp;American Society of Clinical Oncology, made up some of the nation's top cancer doctors, has said&nbsp;limiting alcoholic drinks is&nbsp;important for cancer prevention.</p><p>Published Aug. 24, 2018 by USA TODAY<!--EndFragment--></p><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--> Sat, 25 Aug 2018 05:00:00 +0000 PRC4 2018 Regional Needs Assessment Available for Download <!--StartFragment--><p>The Regional Needs Assessment (RNA) report is created by each Prevention Resource Center in the state of Texas, in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) every year.&nbsp; Data compiled to produce this report is gathered to provide the state, agencies and organizations, and the community at large with a comprehensive view of information about the trends, outcomes, and consequences associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in the region.&nbsp; The methodology for this report was designed to enable PRC’s, DSHS, and community stakeholders to engage in long-term strategic prevention planning based on current and prospective services relative to the needs of the communities in the State.</p><p>This assessment was designed to aid PRC’s, DSHS, and community stakeholders in long-term strategic prevention planning based on most current information relative to the unique needs of the diverse communities in the State of Texas.&nbsp; This document presents a summary of statistics relevant to risk and protective factors associated with drug use, as well as consumption patterns and consequences data, at the same time offers insight related to gaps in services and data availability challenges.</p><p>The 2018 Regional Needs Assessment is completed and <a class="fr-file" href="/uploads/blog/7d6ddce47dcfca68013bf9d7ac02054214e7b8b1.pdf" target="_blank"><strong>now available to download</strong></a>.&nbsp; The RNA is focused on adolescent use of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs in our region.&nbsp; Region 4 consists of 23 counties in East Texas.</p><p>You may also contact Calandra Jones at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;for questions or to schedule presentations on risk and protective factors related to substance abuse.</p><p><br></p><!--EndFragment--><p><br></p> Mon, 23 Jul 2018 05:00:00 +0000