Teen drug use remains below pre-pandemic levels
Michigan News, University of Michigan
The annual Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders found that overall reported use of illicit substances among teens has remained steady in 2023 compared to 2022 and is still below pre-pandemic levels. In particular, cannabis and non-cannabis illicit drug use remained stable, while alcohol use actually decreased for 12th graders and nicotine vaping decreased for 10th and 12th graders. Despite reported levels of use remaining below pre-COVID levels, overdose deaths have continued to increase.
Cannabis-Related Disorders and Toxic Effects
The New England Journal of Medicine
In this review, Dr. David Gorelick discusses cannabis intoxication, subacute and long-term effects, withdrawal, and cannabis use disorder (CUD). Cannabis is one of the most used substances globally, with 18.7% of the US population reporting past-year use in 2021. Genetic factors account for about half of the risk of developing CUD, but frequency and duration of use are also significant risk factors, and potency is less clearly linked to risk; notably, potency has doubled in the last 20 years. The authors note recommendations to screen for CUD in health care settings and the primary treatments are cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy, while the role of medications is primarily to treat symptoms of withdrawal.
Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse and Skilled Addiction Treatment Workforce
Substance Use and Addiction Journal
While approximately 20 million people have a substance use disorder, only a small percent receive treatment, and this is partially due to the significant shortages in the treatment workforce. The authors make 8 recommendations to address this shortage, particularly to recruit and retain persons from underrepresented minorities. Measures they recommend include equitable hiring, providing supportive training, improving employee well-being, and promoting professional growth. They also support sustainable funding for addiction training for physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and advanced practitioners. Addressing compensation for the workforce is also important as compensation is often lower than for other specialties.
An overlooked relationship in recovery from substance use disorders: Associations between body mass index and negative emotional states
Physiology and Behavior
Recovery from substance use disorders (SUD) is multifactorial. Being overweight could negatively impact physiological and psychological health-related parameters. Using model selection, this study examined associations between body mass index (BMI) and negative emotional states (NES, e.g., stress, anxiety, depression) in 54 men with SUD and under treatment in five different therapeutic recovery centers. It found that BMI was positively associated with stress (p < .001), anxiety (p < .001), and depression (p = .002). Therefore, these findings suggest that decreasing the accumulation of body fat might contribute to improving mental health in individuals with SUD during recovery.