Overdose deaths linked to illicit "designer" benzodiazepines have surged in the United States, as underground labs crank out new synthetic variations on prescription tranquilizers like Valium, Xanax and Ativan.
Overdose deaths involving illicit benzos increased more than sixfold (520%) between 2019 and 2020, rising from 51 to 316, according to data from 32 states and the District of Colum...
There's been a sharp rise in opioid-related cardiac arrests in the United States and they now equal those associated with other prime causes, a new study finds.
Of more than 1.4 million cardiac arrest hospitalizations nationwide between 2012 and 2018, more than 43,000 (3.1%) occurred in opioid users, and there was a significant increase in opioid-associated cardiac arrest over the seven-y...
Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporters
In a finding that could mean more patients desperate for a heart transplant get a new lease on life, two new studies show that hearts from donors who abused drugs can be safely donated.
In the past two decades, the U.S. opioid crisis has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans -- often young, otherwise healthy people. One result is that a rising percentage of potential donor...
As America went into lockdown and treatment centers closed their doors, drug overdose deaths in the United States jumped by nearly a third last year, new data show.
The estimated 93,331 drug overdose deaths recorded during 2020 are a sharp increase -- a 29.4% rise -- over the 72,151 deaths estimated in 2019, according to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NC...
Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporters
Teens and adults with autism may be less likely than others to use drugs and alcohol, but new research finds those who do are nearly nine times more likely to use these substances to mask symptoms, including those related to autism.
This is known as camouflaging, and it has been linked to mental health issues and increased risk for suicide among people with autism.
Methamphetamine users are at increased risk for physical and mental health problems as well as other substance use disorders, new research shows.
Meth is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant drug that can harm organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and neurological system, and injecting it can increase the risk of infectious diseases, the researchers noted.
Teens who try marijuana or other drugs are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction than those who wait a few years before experimenting with drugs, a new study finds.
"Though not everyone who uses a drug will develop addiction, adolescents may develop addiction to substances faster than young adults," said study co-lead author Dr. Nora Volkow. She is director of the U.S. National I...
Men who use anabolic steroids may be doing serious damage to their testicular function, new research warns.
And the damage may last long after they stop.
Illegal use of the drugs is not uncommon among athletes seeking to increase muscle size and strength and look more muscular, according to study lead author Dr. Jon Rasmussen, a postdoctoral scientist at the University Hospital of C...
Combining drugs with driving is a potentially deadly but all too common combination in the United States, according to a new report.
University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers found that almost 9% of adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana use among drivers was more than 4%, while many adults also use both pot and other drugs in combination with alcohol.
Philadelphia is seeing a surge in overdose fatalities involving heroin and/or fentanyl plus an animal tranquilizer not approved for human use, according to a new study.
The tranquilizer -- called xylazine -- is a non-opioid sedative and painkiller approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration solely as a veterinary drug. In Philadelphia, it goes by the street name "tranq."
Cannabidiol (CBD) products are seemingly everywhere these days, but they won't help cure a cocaine addiction, a Canadian study finds.
CBD, a chemical in the cannabis plant, has long been touted as a treatment for cocaine addiction. But researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center found that it doesn't lessen addicts' craving for cocaine or reduce their risk of relaps...
Deaths from overdoses of methamphetamine are rising across the United States, especially among Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives, a new study warns.
"While much attention is focused on the opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis has been quietly, but actively, gaining steam -- particularly among American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are disproportionately affected by a number ...
The number of U.S. drug overdose deaths reached a record high as the coronavirus pandemic held the country in its grip last spring, new government data shows.
For the 12 months ending in May, more than 81,000 people died from an overdose. That is the highest number ever recorded during a 12-month period, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Marijuana packs a lot more punch than it did 50 years ago, making it a greater threat to health, researchers say.
"As the strength of cannabis has increased, so too has the number of people entering treatment for cannabis use problems," said study co-author Tom Freeman, director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in England.
Drug use is common among people taking part in virtual raves and happy hours during the coronavirus pandemic, a new study finds.
"We explored whether stay-at-home orders changed how people use drugs -- and it appears that drug use during virtual gatherings is somewhat prevalent among the party-going population we studied," said study author Joseph Palamar. He's associate professor of ...
It's widely believed that marijuana is not addictive, but a major new evidence review suggests that's not true.
Not only can people suffer withdrawal symptoms when they quit pot, but nearly half of those who regularly or heavily use marijuana will go through withdrawal when they stop, according to the study published online April 9 in JAMA Network Open.
Methamphetamine use is soaring again, with nearly one million Americans hooked on it, according to federal health officials.
Between 2015 and 2018, about 53% of the 1.6 million meth users were addicted to it and slightly more than 22% said they injected the drug, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC noted that mental illn...
Having opioid withdrawal symptoms increases the odds that injection drug users will share needles or have a non-fatal overdose, new research suggests.
For the study, the researchers questioned more than 800 injection drug users in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Eighty-five percent said they had had at least one withdrawal episode in the previous six months. More than one-third reporte...
It's never good news that kids are using drugs and alcohol, but fewer U.S. teens are starting before their 16th birthday, a new study finds.
Researchers found that between 2004 and 2017, the age at which teens started drinking alcohol and smoking rose from 16 to 17 years. The age for trying heroin went from 17 to 18, and for cocaine it increased from 18 to 19 years. For crack cocaine...
Ketamine use among electronic dance music party-goers is much higher than previously thought. And unintentional use appears to play a role, a new study finds.
Ketamine is known as Special K on the party scene. The operating room anesthetic was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019 as a treatment for depression. But it has long been used as a club drug.
Nearly twice as many people in the United States used heroin in 2018 as did in 2002, a new government study shows.
"I think the rise in heroin use is probably precipitated by prescription opioid abuse. People tend to move from prescription opioids to heroin because it's cheaper and easier to obtain," said Dr. Lawrence Brown Jr., an addiction treatment specialist. He's CEO of START Tr...
Psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin -- also known as "magic mushrooms" -- can elevate mood and make one feel close to others, and those feelings may last after the high is gone, new research shows.
The findings, from more than 1,200 art and music festival-goers, echo lab work that showed psychedelics enhance feelings of social connectedness and well-being, Yale University resea...
Treatment with the opioid addiction drug buprenorphine is on the rise among most age groups in the United States, but falling among 15- to 24-year-olds, a new study finds.
"While it's encouraging to see an overall increase in prescription rates for buprenorphine, the data suggest that the youngest group is having difficulty accessing this potentially lifesaving treatment," said study ...
Opioid addiction is tough enough to beat, but new research shows that having an accompanying methamphetamine habit may make quitting far more difficult.
For the study, researchers looked at 799 people receiving opioid addiction treatment at three sites in Washington State. They found that methamphetamine use was associated with a more than twofold higher risk of dropping out of treatm...
There are fewer problem "potheads" today than before the wave of marijuana legalization that's swept the United States, a new analysis of federal survey data shows.
Researchers found an across-the-board decline in daily or near-daily pot users who could be diagnosed with cannabis use disorder, according to results published in the Dec. 1 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Needle exchange programs in two large U.S. cities prevented thousands of new HIV infections and saved hundreds of millions of dollars, researchers say.
Needle, or syringe, exchange programs prevented nearly 10,600 new cases of HIV in Philadelphia and almost 1,900 new cases of HIV in Baltimore over 10 years, leading to significant savings for the cities, the new study found.
More people die from drug overdoses in the northeastern U.S. than other regions, making it a major hotbed of the nation's opioid epidemic, a new federal report says.
Fueled mainly by fentanyl and heroin, overdose (OD) deaths are soaring in an area that runs east from Minnesota and Illinois and north from West Virginia and Virginia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and...
If you don't think Americans have a problem with illicit drugs, a new study shows that nearly $150 billion was spent on marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in 2016.
"To better understand changes in drug use outcomes and the effects of policies, policymakers need to know what is happening in markets for these substances," said study author Greg Midgette. He's an assistant pr...
Teens who take prescription opioid painkillers to get high could be taking a step toward heroin use, researchers say.
"Prescription opioids and heroin activate the brain's pleasure circuit in similar ways," said senior author Adam Leventhal. He's director of the Institute for Addiction Science at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been receiving a lot of attention lately as a potential treatment for everything from epilepsy to anxiety. Now, researchers report it might also help curb the cravings that come with opioid addiction.
Like marijuana, CBD comes from the cannabis plant. Unlike pot, it does not produce a high.
The study included 42 men and women with a history of heroin a...