New LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention Plan for Utah

Data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance shows that nationally, LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. A new prevention plan by the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition says, “Utah consistently ranks in the top ten in the United States for suicide deaths. LGBTQ+ adults and youth experience…

Dangerous Misuse of Anxiety Drug Phenibut on the Rise

A dangerous substance from the 1960s is making a comeback in the United States. Phenibut, a central nervous system depressant with anxiolytic effects, used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions was developed in the Soviet Union for medical use in the 1960s. It is still used in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Latvia to treat…

The Dangers of Unprocessed Trauma and Compassion Fatigue in First Responders

“Society has long recognized the physical demands of first responders; however, what is less formally acknowledged are the negative psychological outcomes,” wrote Bowers, Beidel, and Marks in Mental Health Intervention and Treatment of First Responders and Emergency Workers (2019). “Most notable among these negative mental health consequences is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The hallmark of…

MTV 16 and Recovering

“16 and Recovering”—A Different Way to Portray Addiction and Recovery

“The major media outlets have long been chastised for the content and style of their coverage of alcohol- and drug-related problems. Such criticisms include the glamorization of drug use, the demonization of drug users, and charges that the media is complicit in ineffective drug policies. Few have raised parallel concerns that popular media coverage of addiction recovery is rare,…

Neuroplasticity and Conditioning in Addiction

“The human brain is the most complex organ in our body and is characterized by a unique ability called neuroplasticity,” writes Maria Mavrikaki, Ph.D., on the Harvard Health Blog. “Neuroplasticity refers to our brain’s ability to change and adapt in its structural and functional levels in response to experience. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for us…

Addiction is a Family Disease

Addiction is often referred to as a family disease because addiction not only impacts the person who is misusing drugs and/or alcohol, it impacts the entire family. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 46 percent of American adults have experienced substance misuse problems in their family. Active addiction typically prompts families to make slow, incremental…

FDA Announces Stronger Warning for Benzodiazepines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in September 2020 that it would require a new warning label for a class of psychiatric drugs called benzodiazepines in order to better inform the public and health professionals about the serious risks of misuse and addiction. Benzodiazepines—sometimes referred to as “benzos”—are commonly prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, seizures,…

Heroes Health Initiative

“Healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are being called heroes, and we can all see why”, wrote Matthew Lewis, et al. on Statnews in May. “They have been asked to treat huge numbers of very sick people in a shifting landscape without sufficient personal protective equipment or coordination. Some have seen…

Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Linked to Elevated Risk of Autism

In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers from The Ottawa Hospital, BORN Ontario, and the University of Ottawa found “an association between maternal cannabis use in pregnancy and the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring” and “the incidence of intellectual disability and learning disorders was higher among offspring of mothers…