Illicit Drugs Laced with Fentanyl Sold in Northern Utah

Fentanyl is the drug most responsible for the increase in overdose deaths in recent years. It is “a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent,” explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally.” Illicit fentanyl is…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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Psychiatric Comorbidities May Increase Risk for Polysubstance Use Disorder.

Every day, almost 200 Americans die of a drug overdose, often involving opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “more than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia.” Benzodiazepines (also called “benzos”) include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam…

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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…

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How Opioid Litigation Complicates the Response to COVID-19

For years, the focus of one of the most pressing public health debates in America was the drug overdose epidemic. This epidemic killed almost 200 people each day last year alone.  In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. The novel coronavirus is currently killing about 1,000 people per day in the…

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Increased Addiction and Suicide Risk for Those Diagnosed With Schizophrenia

There is a strong correlation between mental illness and substance misuse.   According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.” Schizophrenia is a severe and debilitating…

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