A top ED doctor today warned of the dangers of carving the Christmas turkey while drunk in a bid to cut the number of serious accidents that ruin many families' festive celebrations. Dr John Heyworth, emergency department consultant at Southampton General Hospital and president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said: "Every Christmas without fail we see the same injuries caused by preparing and cooking the Christmas dinner. "People are likely to burn themselves on the oven or cut themselves as they carve the turkey - particularly if they have been drinking alcohol." Dr Heyworth is also urging family members to take extra care of their elderly relatives, who are vulnerable to choking on the traditional holiday meat. "We will always see someone who chokes over Christmas, often the elderly. They will choke on a piece of meat because they don't chew it properly, " he said. "If people are looking after or hosting elderly people for Christmas dinner, it is important to take extra care of them.
Teens who frequently listen to music that contains references to marijuana are more likely to use the drug than their counterparts with less exposure to such lyrics, according to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study online now in the journal Addiction. "Based on an analysis of survey data from 959 ninth-graders, we found that students who listen to music with the most references to marijuana are almost twice as likely to have used the drug than their peers whose musical tastes favor songs less focused on substance use, even after controlling for confounding factors, " said Brian Primack, M.D., Ed.M., M.S., lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Pitt's School of Medicine. "Interestingly, we also found that exposure to marijuana in music was not associated with other high-risk behaviors, such as excessive alcohol consumption. This suggests that there is a real link between the marijuana lyrics and marijuana use, " said Dr. Primack.
More teenagers in England who need it are receiving help for problems involving drug and alcohol use, but fewer have problems severe enough to require treatment for addiction, new national statistics reported on Wednesday by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA), show. The number of teenagers entering treatment for heroin and crack has fallen by a third in four years according to the NTA report 'Substance misuse among young people - The data for 2008/09'; this echoes the trend already seen in young adults (aged 18-24) in drug treatment. The overall number of under-18s accessing specialist substance misuse services in England during 2008/9 was 24, 053. This is a modest increase of about 150 over 2007/8, and indicates that demand for such services is levelling out. The vast majority of these young people are receiving help for problems associated with the misuse of cannabis and/or alcohol, which are treated with structured counselling. Drug treatment services in England are now widely available and anyone who needs help can get it quickly.
Health-Reform Legislation Would Accomplish More Than Critics Admit The Washington Post No one has guaranteed ways to slow the growth of health-care spending and ... the pending bills include most of the ways experts believe are likely to succeed (Henry J. Aaron, 12/18). The Hardest Call The New York Times If I were a senator forced to vote today, I'd vote no. If you pass a health care bill without systemic incentives reform, you set up a political vortex in which the few good parts of the bill will get stripped out and the expensive and wasteful parts will be entrenched (David Brooks, 12/17). Smart Move: Congress Drops Needle-Exchange Restriction The Star-Ledger Tucked inside the huge spending bill Congress passed last weekend is a provision ending the wrong-headed ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs designed to stem the spread of AIDS and other diseases among drug addicts (12/16). Democrats On The Health-Care Precipice The Wall Street Journal Enacting health-care legislation in the face of overwhelming public disapproval may cost the party its chance of forging a sustainable majority (Kimberly A.
Violent and acute behavioural disturbances are more common during the full moon, according to the results of an observational study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Ms Leonie Calver, a clinical research nurse in toxicology at the Calvary Mater Newcastle, and her co-authors conducted a study of hospital patients at Calvary Mater Newcastle between August 2008 and July 2009. The researchers examined the cases of 91 patients with violent and acute behavioural disturbance who presented to the emergency department and required sedation and physical restraint to protect themselves and others. "Of the 91 patients, 21 (23 per cent) presented during the full moon - double the number for other lunar phases. Sixty (66 per cent) were under the influence of alcohol and/or recreational drugs and five attacked staff, " Ms Calver said. "Some of these patients attacked the staff like animals - biting, spitting and scratching. One might compare them with the werewolves of the past, who are said to have also appeared during the full moon.
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, unveiled the youth component of Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy, which aims to educate young people on the dangers of illicit drugs and to turn their backs on drugs. "Youth between the ages of 13 and 15 are the most likely to try illicit drugs for the first time, " said Minister Aglukkaq, speaking with a class of Grade 9 students from Ottawa's Mother Teresa High School. "Our Government's 'Drugs not4me' campaign, which includes a website and TV ad, will help inform our kids that drugs are dangerous and destructive, and put to rest the perception that it is somehow alright to use illicit drugs." "Our Government is committed to preventing crime and building stronger communities, " said the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety. "That is why we introduced a Strategy to combat the production and distribution of illegal drugs, and invested in treatment for those with serious drug addictions. The new initiative announced today will help youth make smart choices, and avoid negative influences.
The Minnesota Independent : "An appropriations bill passed by Congress last weekend is being hailed by public health advocates for ending funding for abstinence-until-marriage sex education and eliminating the ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs" (Birkey, 12/17). NPR/Maine Public Broadcasting Network : "For years, needle exchange programs in three dozen states have provided clean needles to intravenous drug users as a way to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. But the programs have relied solely on state and local funding because of a longtime ban at the federal level. For years, some regarded needle exchange as an incentive for drug addicts to continue to use." "Around the country, the rate of needle exchange continues to increase. According to the North American Syringe Exchange Network, more than 30 million clean needles were distributed last year. Even in a rural state like Maine, the numbers are up. ... The end of the federal ban on funding does not guarantee additional money for needle exchange programs, but AIDS activists say it's a symbolic achievement that will, at the very least, reinforce an old message that clean needles save lives" (Sharon, 12/18).
Driving while impaired (DWI) contributes significantly to road-traffic crashes, and is involved in more than one-third of all fatalities. Many DWI recidivists - drinking drivers who re-offend - do not participate in mandated alcohol-evaluation and intervention programs or else continue to drink problematically after their licenses have been re-issued. A comparison of the effects of two interventions on DWI recidivists with alcohol problems found that one - Brief Motivational Interviewing (BMI) - was more effective. Results will be published in the February 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Traffic crashes contribute more to morbidity in teenagers and young adults than any other cause, and DWI contributes to about a third of the overall toll, " explained Thomas G. Brown, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and principal investigator for the study. "In dollar terms on a yearly basis, total estimated loss due to DWI is estimated at five percent of the gross national product of Canada.
The Royal College of Nursing today (17th December) welcomed the launch of new guidance for parents, children and young people on alcohol consumption, published by the Chief Medical Officer. Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, said: "Both in A&E departments and in classrooms nurses see the devastating effects alcohol is having on young people everyday - it is damaging not just their health but also their education, development and general wellbeing. It is vital that adults and children understand the serious short and long-term harm that alcohol can cause. "We welcome the news that the Government is publishing guidance for parents and children on alcohol. However, we are calling on all political parties to repair the nation's turbulent relationship with alcohol. We need stronger regulation of the labelling, sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks as well as widespread education campaigns. We simply cannot continue down a road where more and more children are being rushed to A&E as a result of binge drinking, and increasing numbers of people in their twenties are dying as a result of alcohol related illnesses.
Canadian teenagers are among the largest consumers of cannabis worldwide. The damaging effects of this illicit drug on young brains are worse than originally thought, according to new research by Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a psychiatric researcher from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. The new study, published in Neurobiology of Disease, suggests that daily consumption of cannabis in teens can cause depression and anxiety, and have an irreversible long-term effect on the brain. "We wanted to know what happens in the brains of teenagers when they use cannabis and whether they are more susceptible to its neurological effects than adults, " explained Dr. Gobbi, who is also a professor at McGill University. Her study points to an apparent action of cannabis on two important compounds in the brain - serotonin and norepinephrine - which are involved in the regulation of neurological functions such as mood control and anxiety. "Teenagers who are exposed to cannabis have decreased serotonin transmission, which leads to mood disorders, as well as increased norepinephrine transmission, which leads to greater long-term susceptibility to stress, " Dr.