Oct 14, 2019 01:17 AM EDT
For several years, the national spotlight has shone on the need to prevent and rapidly treat opioid overdoses. But a new study suggests a need for more focus on the risk of alcohol overdoses among people who use opioids of all kinds, as well as cocaine, marijuana and certain prescription drugs. Researchers from the University of Michigan Addiction Center find that 90% of 660 people surveyed in a residential recovery center had overdosed on alcohol at least once in their lives - blacking out, or suffering alcohol poisoning severe enough to need medical treatment. That by itself may not be too surprising. But 80% of alcohol overdose survivors said that at the time of their overdose, they had also been taking other drugs, including street drugs and prescription drugs that have abuse potential. More than 43% said they'd been using marijuana, and around 1 in 4 said they'd been using sedatives such as sleeping pills, and/or cocaine or crack, and/or prescription opioids. Nearly 40% said they'd been using two or more drugs in addition to alcohol when they suffered their alcohol overdose. And the more substances they'd been using at once, the higher their chance that their alcohol overdose sent them to the hospital for emergency or inpatient care. 1+1 = 3 when alcohol interacts with drugs Alcohol ramps up the effects of other drugs that act on the brain and nervous system, and vice versa, which means faster, more dangerous effects on the brain and body, says Anne Fernandez, M.A., Ph.D., lead author of the new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. But people who drink and take these drugs at the same time may not fully realize the danger before it's too late, and they suffer an acute reaction that needs emergency care. Fernandez, an addiction psychologist, says many people don't realize that alcohol by itself kills six Americans a day. But many of the 130 opioid overdose deaths in the U.S each day may result from a combination of illicit or prescription opioids with alcohol, and perhaps other substances such as sleeping pills and anxiety medications that depress the central nervous system, she says. "As a society, we treat all these drugs as if they were in silos, as if people were just using one, when in fact it's much more blended, and they have an additive effect," says Fernandez, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the U-M Medical School. "We need to understand better how people mix substances, and how overdoses result from the interactions of those substances." Clinical implications Fernandez counsels patients about their alcohol use at U-M Addiction Treatment Services and at a specialty alcohol-related liver disease clinic at Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center. She's also studying alcohol use among patients scheduled for surgery, in part because of the risk of interaction between what they drink and the pain medication they take after their operation. The new study, she notes, shows the importance of focusing on people in the highest-risk categories of "polysubstance" users. Because the data are from a limited number of people who had found their way to a residential recovery program in Michigan in the mid-2010s, and are not nationally representative, Fernandez and her colleagues call for more research on this phenomenon. For those who are receiving or leaving inpatient recovery care, she notes, the study also points out the importance of counseling around alcohol as a risk factor for severe overdose events. Need for further research The data don't provide insights into the intent of the patients at the time they used alcohol and multiple other drugs, nor whether they obtained prescription sedatives, prescription opioids and prescription stimulants such as ADHD drugs with a prescription or on the street. "We tend to think of opioids such as heroin and fentanyl as the ones that have the risk of an overdose, but people taking prescription opioids or sedatives for legitimate medical reasons are also at risk if an overdose if they combine those with alcohol," says Fernandez. "Alcohol may be more socially acceptable than other substances, but it's still one of our nation's biggest killers, in both its acute and long-term effects, and its role in raising the risk of serious injuries during other activities like driving." Fernandez also notes that research is severely lacking on the effect of marijuana and marijuana derivatives combined with alcohol, which is especially concerning given the recent legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in more states. "Research has shown combining alcohol with cannabis significantly increases levels of THC in the blood, and anecdotally we hear about people 'greening out' or 'whiting out' when they're using both," she says. But not enough is known about these effects.
Oct 14, 2019 01:01 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 10, 2019 - An old adage urges pregnant women to "eat for two." So with twins, is it "eat for three?" While that is likely bad advice, when it comes to twin pregnancies, clinicians don't have firm guidelines for ideal weight gain due to a lack of scientific study.
Aug 12, 2019 03:12 AM EDT
CHICAGO -- Having productive conversations about climate change isn't only challenging when dealing with skeptics, it can also be difficult for environmentalists, according to two studies presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.
The Lancet Global Health: Automatically Chlorinating Water at Public Taps Cuts Child Diarrhea by Almost a Quarter in Urban Bangladesh
Aug 09, 2019 03:44 AM EDT
A novel water treatment device that delivers chlorine automatically via public taps without the need for electricity, reduced child diarrhoea by 23% compared with controls (156 cases out of 2,073 child measurements [7.5%] vs 216/2,145 [10%]) over 14 months in two urban neighbourhoods of Bangladesh, according to a randomised trial following more than 1,000 children published in The Lancet Global Health journal.
Aug 09, 2019 03:43 AM EDT
A new economic study in the journal Science shows that thousands of farmers in northern India could increase their profits if they stop burning their rice straw and adopt no-till practices to grow wheat. Alternative farming practices could also cut farmers' greenhouse gas emissions from on-farm activities by as much as 78% and help lower air pollution in cities like New Delhi.
Aug 08, 2019 03:49 AM EDT
Where there's a will to peddle soybeans in the global marketplace, there's a way, even if a trade war creates roadblocks.
Two Types of Mid-Latitude Wave Trains Lead to Extreme Heat in South Korea and Southern-Central Japan
May 10, 2019 09:43 AM EDT
Global climate change has strongly increased the worldwide frequency of extreme heat in recent decades. South Korea and southern-central Japan are also frequently affected by extreme heat, and the extreme heat in these two regions tend to occur simultaneously.
May 06, 2019 09:36 AM EDT
UK rapeseed growers are losing up to a quarter of their crop yield each year because of temperature rises during an early-winter weather window.
May 04, 2019 09:54 AM EDT
Satellite data revealed heavy rainfall in powerful Tropical Cyclone Fani before it made landfall in northeastern India. Fani brought that soaking rain to the region and continues to drop heavy rainfall on May 3, as it moves toward Bangladesh.
Apr 22, 2019 01:05 PM EDT
Led by Katsumasa Tanaka, a senior climate risk researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, the study examined global scenarios for transitioning from coal to gas using a novel approach that applied metrics developed for climate impact assessments to the coal-gas debate for the first time. Focusing on the world's leading power generators--China, Germany, India, and the United States--the study examined the impacts from a variety of direct and indirect emissions of such a shift on both shorter and longer timescales ranging from a few decades to a century.
Oct 08, 2018 04:52 PM EDT
The death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami on Indonesia's Sulawesi island neared 2,000 on Monday, but thousands more are believed unaccounted for.
Oct 08, 2018 04:47 PM EDT
Senior official tells Pompeo he needs stable relations, citing efforts to pressure North Korea
Oct 06, 2018 08:14 PM EDT
the discovery of an Iron Age sword in a Swedish lake by a young girl named Saga sounds like enough to at least get you through the first couple pages.
Oct 06, 2018 08:09 PM EDT
There has been no lack of drama in the lead-up to Brazil's presidential election on Sunday.
Oct 06, 2018 08:05 PM EDT
Melania Trump stood in front of Egypt's Great Sphinx, doing something she rarely does: Speaking about the news of the day.