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Can our surroundings fuel addiction?

New research in the journal Learning and Memory explores the impact of environmental cues on addiction. The findings could enhance the process of recovering from addiction.

Walking down the same street a person used to smoke on can trigger memories that could make them want to light up.

When we enter a restaurant, exposure to food cues such as seeing and smelling it can boost our appetite and make us crave it, even if we are already full.

In addiction, such cues trigger reward pathways in the brain, which makes it very hard to resist cravings.These reward pathways involve the release of the hormone dopamine.This is also known as the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” neurotransmitter because our brains release it during pleasurable activities.

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Hamilton County wants to steer addicted, low-level offenders from jail, into ‘life’ plan

This summer, Hamilton County will test a program that will let police reach out to drug users and other low-level offenders and, instead of jailing them, lead them to the skills and treatment they need to improve their lives.

Hamilton County commissioners are expected to vote Thursday (3/7/19) to approve the pre-arrest diversion program, an attempt to deal with the heroin and fentanyl epidemic while reducing the jail population.

The county program, which also will need approval from Cincinnati City Council, is modeled after one that started in Seattle in 2011. Called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), it has spurred 30 communities nationwide to adopt it. Another 70 are studying the program as a possibility for their cities.

Terry DeMio, Cincinnati Enquirer

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Young people at risk of addiction have differences in key brain region

Young adults at risk of developing problems with addiction show key differences in an important region of the brain, according to an international team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

The study adds further evidence to support the idea that an individual’s biological makeup plays a significant role in whether or not they develop an addictive disorder.

Adolescence and young adulthood is an important time in a person’s development. It is during this time that individuals begin to demonstrate behaviours that are associated with addiction and which suggest that they may be at risk.

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The Alcohol Crisis In America Has Been Overshadowed By Opioids, But Can No Longer Be Ignored

When talking about drug abuse and drug-related death in the U.S., most conversations and statistics do not include alcohol. Although alcohol is classified as a depressant, the amount consumed and type of alcohol determine the outcome and thus, most individuals think of it as separate from other drugs. But that doesn’t change the impact that alcohol has on the body, the mind, or the shocking statistics of abuse and death that are attributed to alcohol use and abuse.

In fact, many people use alcohol as either a substitute or a compliment to other kinds of drugs.

Alcohol is the 3rd leading preventable cause of death in the United States,  with an estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) dying from alcohol-related causes every year. Further, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2% of adults over the age of 18 (more then 15 million) and 2.5% of 12-17 year olds (more than 600,00) have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

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Why environmental cues make drug addiction extra hard to beat

It’s known environmental cues can be strong triggers for those trying to kick a drug habit because those cues activate the brain’s emotional and stimulus-response systems.

A new study by University of Guelph researchers reveals for the first time that there’s more going on in the brain when someone walks past a customary lighting-up spot or sees drug-taking paraphernalia that makes quitting the habit even harder.

Besides triggering the brain’s emotional and stimulus-response systems (“see smoking area, smoke, feel good”), environmental cues activate brain areas where memories are processed.

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After hitting ‘rock bottom,’ some people with addiction issues find a road to recovery

In addiction phraseology, it’s often called “rock bottom.” It’s a state of mind known as the nadir of suffering, an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes it’s a jump-off point at which misery is traded for normalcy and meaning, where one life ends and another begins.

Ryan Hess’s rock bottom came during a drizzly December in Ohio. He was yet again high on heroin, and he had been that way for more hours than he could remember. The 33-year-old lay on a filthy sweatshirt beneath a piece — just a small piece — of tent, stolen from a stranger’s garden shed. His socks and shoes were wet, his breath and body reeked.

“I was hungry and very lonely,” he says. “I broke down weeping like a baby. I needed help, and 48 hours later I finally accepted it.”

Hess entered rehab and completed four-plus months of inpatient and outpatient treatment, committing himself to sobriety after some 15 years of what he calls “horrible” substance abuse that had included two overdoses.

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WYSO Dayton Listeners Ask: How To Help A Loved One Struggling With Addiction

The opioid epidemic has touched the lives of thousands of people across the Miami Valley. As part of our coverage of the crisis, WYSO wanted to know what our listeners wanted to know. We collected dozens of questions, a lot of them from people wondering how best to help a loved one struggling with addiction or recovery, and how to find support for themselves.

We posed some of the questions to participants at a meeting of Dayton support group Families of Addicts or FOA. For WYSO News, Community Voices producer Jason Reynolds brings us a taste of what people at the meeting had to say.

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Insurance rules make it harder to treat opioid use disorder

Insurance industry cost-control measures may be worsening the nation’s opioid epidemic by limiting access to a key medication that treats addiction, according to a research letter published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Despite the medical profession’s growing acceptance of the need for medications for addiction treatment that give hope to people suffering with opioid use disorder, a study conducted by clinician-scientists at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, found that insurance rules increasingly limited the use of buprenorphine among Medicare beneficiaries between 2007 and 2018.

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Even in best-case scenario, opioid overdose deaths will keep rising until 2022

In the nation’s opioid epidemic, the carnage is far from over.

A new projection of opioid overdose death rates suggests that even if there is steady progress in reducing prescription narcotic abuse across the country, the number of fatal overdoses — which reached 47,600 in 2017 — will rise sharply in the coming years.

By 2022, these deaths would peak at around 75,400, and begin to level off thereafter, according to the new forecast.

And that’s the rosiest scenario. Under conditions that are only slightly less optimistic, the U.S. could see 81,700 opioid overdose deaths per year by 2025.

If the supply of prescription painkillers stops declining and there are other setbacks, researchers predict that yearly opioid overdose deaths could rise as high as 200,000 per year by 2025.

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Google combats opioid epidemic through providing disposal locations on Google Maps

Google is launching a new effort in the fight against the nation’s opioid crisis.

The tech giant is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, CVS, Walgreens and state governments to display local drug disposal locations in Google Maps.

By entering searches such as “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me,” users will be able to find permanent disposal spots at local pharmacies, hospitals or government buildings to dispatch of unneeded medication. The program will start with 3,500 locations nationwide.

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