August | CASAColumbia

August

There is a common misbelief among many people, including some addiction treatment providers, that people who are taking medication for opioid (e.g., heroin, OxyContin, Percodan, Vicodin, codeine) addiction are not in recovery. The idea that you should not take medication for opioid addiction, a serious medical disorder, is dangerous. Medications prescribed by a doctor are an effective, potentially lifesaving, treatment for this issue. Medication-assisted treatment (also called MAT) reduces drug use and helps keep people in treatment longer.

Addiction cuts across demographic lines of class, race and gender. Just like other diseases that tend to be chronic, an earlier onset of use is related to greater problems. The younger women are when they begin to use drugs, the bigger their risk for addiction and other health consequences. For example, 25% of females who began using any substance before age 15 have a substance use disorder compared to nearly 3% of those who first used at age 21 or older.

Welcome to Five Minutes With where we take a few moments to better get to know the CASAColumbia staff. Today we’d like to introduce Linda Richter, Associate Director of the Policy Research and Analysis Division.

What sort of research/work do you do?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a proposed regulation in April and solicited comments on how to regulate tobacco products that are subject to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. Up until now, many tobacco products such as dissolvable tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, hookah, e-cigarettes and pipe tobacco, were not subject to FDA regulation.

Since its debut, the e-cigarette industry has been pushing its products as less dangerous than traditional cigarettes. This message has spread to adolescents: researchers have found that teens who perceive e-cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes are more likely to use e-cigarettes. In 2012, about 1.8 million middle and high school-aged kids reported using an e-cigarette and over half a million had used one in the past 30 days. These numbers are expected to grow as awareness of these products increases.

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