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The Partnership for a Drug-Free Texas provides broad daily coverage of relevant news, research, blogs, and other resources with a focus on news relevant to Texans. Website visitors can search an archive of news articles tagged by subject, audience, or key phrase. As with any news clipping service, errors in an original source could be unknowingly reproduced in our summary. Please make us aware of any errors, and we will post a correction.

News Articles

Legal Marijuana Begins In Washington, D.C. As ‘Green Rush’ Is On

Possession of small amounts of marijuana became legal in the District of Columbia on Thursday, launching a pot “green rush” despite a face-off between local officials and the Republican-led U.S. Congress over the new standards. The U.S. capital joined Washington state, Alaska and Colorado in making marijuana lawful for recreational use, reflecting a rapidly shifting legal landscape for the drug. It remains illegal under federal law.

Molly: Why the Club Drug Is So Dangerous

The club drug “Molly” may have an innocent name, but it’s anything but, experts say. Ten Wesleyan University students and two Wesleyan guests were hospitalized over the weekend after taking the drug, leaving two of them in critical condition, university officials said.

Hammered And Heedless: Do Dangerous Drinking Videos Harm Teens?

Type “drunk,” “hammered,” or “trashed” into YouTube’s search bar and some pretty unsavory videos are likely to turn up. And that can’t be good for teenagers and young adults, researchers say. User-generated YouTube videos portraying dangerous drinking get hundreds of millions of views online, according a study published Friday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

New Interactive Tool Illustrates How Pain Medicine Abuse Can Lead to Heroin Addiction

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has released a new web resource to help drive awareness and action around the dangerous risks of prescription (Rx) medicine abuse among teens. The tool, titled Rx to Heroin, is an interactive infographic that illustrates the path leading some teens and young adults from prescription painkiller abuse into heroin addiction.

U.S. Painkiller Abuse ‘Epidemic’ May Be Declining, Study Says

The U.S. “epidemic” of prescription-painkiller abuse may be starting to reverse course, a new study suggests. But researchers also found a disturbing trend: Heroin abuse and overdoses are on the rise, and that may be one reason prescription-drug abuse is down.

Washington State Attorney General Seeks to Raise Smoking Age to 21

Washington state’s top lawyer was set to unveil legislation on Wednesday seeking to raise the legal smoking age to 21 from 18 in a move that could make the state the first in the nation with such a threshold, his office said.

Ten states, District of Columbia allow minors to buy e-cigarettes -CDC

More than 16 million children in 10 states and the District of Columbia have legal access to electronic cigarettes, according to a federal study released on Thursday. The underage use of e-cigarettes, which are metal tubes that heat liquid into an inhalable vapor, concerns health officials because they contain nicotine, which can be addictive and harm adolescent brain development.

Marijuana Poisoning Incidents Spike in Washington State

Marijuana exposure incidents, or ‘pot poisonings,’ have spiked in Washington state, especially among teenagers, in a trend experts said appears to be linked to the state’s largely unregulated medical marijuana industry.

Scientists Identify Brain Regions That May Predict Success Rate for Quitting Smoking

Activity in the brain’s self-control center may predict the chance of relapse after an attempt to quit smoking, according to new research from Penn Medicine.

Colorado Medical Marijuana Doctor Facing Felony Charges

A Colorado doctor who admitted to writing more than 7,000 medical-marijuana recommendations without actually seeing many of those patients is now facing criminal charges.

Oxford Chooses ‘Vape’ as its 2014 Word of the Year

The Oxford English Dictionary named “vape” – the word used for drawing on an electronic cigarette instead of a burning stick of tobacco – as its 2014 word of the year. “You are thirty times more likely to come across the word ‘vape’ than you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year,” staff editors said Monday.

A ‘Heat-Not-Burn’ Cigarette to Debut

Reynolds American is launching a cigarette that heats tobacco rather than burning it, hoping to capitalize on the growing appetite for alternatives to traditional smokes. The second-biggest US tobacco company will begin selling Revo — its carbon tip heats tobacco after being lit — in Wisconsin in February.

Hazards of Secondhand Marijuana Smoke

That whiff of pot that drifts your way at a rock concert or outdoor event could damage your heart and blood vessels as much as secondhand cigarette smoke does, preliminary research suggests.

Energy Drinks Are Hurting Young Kids

Over 40% of calls to U.S. poison centers concerning energy drinks are for kids under age 6, some of whom reported experiencing symptoms like serious cardiac and neurological problems.

Ready to Quit Smoking? Here’s What Works Best

Thursday is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a day on which all smokers will be encouraged to abstain or start making a plan to quit. Find out about the best approaches to quitting.

Video of the 2014 Texas Red Ribbon Rally

On Thursday, October 16, 5th and 6th graders from around Texas gathered at the State Capitol to rally against drugs before heading inside to participate in a mock legislative session, proposing and voting on anti-drug legislation. Click below for video of the rally, featuring the Texas Children’s Choir and master of ceremonies Mark “Police ICE” Gil.


The Genetic Reason Why Some Drinkers Can’t Stop

Around 10% of people will develop alcohol disorders, and a new study in mice shows that having a specific genetic strand might be the reason some escalate from moderate to excessive drinkers.

For Back Pain or Headache, Painkillers Do More Harm than Good

For the fist time, a major medical organization takes a stand on rampant overuse of opioids for treating back pain, headaches and migraines. Powerful painkillers do little to improve patients’ daily functioning, finds the American Academy of Neurology in a new position statement on opioid painkillers for chronic pain not related to cancer.

Rate of Fatal Overdoses Involving Pain Medications Slows, CDC Says

Fatal overdoses involving prescription painkillers have increased every year for more than a decade, but a government study has found for the first time that the rate is slowing.

Washington Post Editorial Against Leagalizing Marijuana in D.C.

The Washington Post has published an editorial against legalizing marijuana in Washington D.C., citing Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s cataloguing of problems in Colorado as one of the reasons for their opposition.

Nicotine Device Licensed as Medicine in UK

A nicotine inhaler which closely resembles a cigarette is the first product of its kind to be licensed as a medicine in the UK. The product, called Voke, which is not electronic, could be provided on prescription to help people stop smoking. It is also the first device made by a tobacco company to be licensed.

DEA Releases New Rules That Create Convenient But Safe and Secure Prescription Drug Disposal Options

Today the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) Final Rule for the Disposal of Controlled Substances, which implements the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, was made available online for preview by the Federal Register at, (PDF, 710kb).  The Act, in an effort to curtail the prescription drug abuse epidemic, authorized DEA to develop and implement regulations that outline methods to transfer unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal.  The Act also permits long-term-care facilities to do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities.  The Final Rule will be officially published tomorrow and will take effect on October 9.

Pre-Fatherhood Smoking May Raise Kids’ Asthma Risk

Men who smoke before becoming a parent may put their children at increased risk for asthma, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed the smoking habits of more than 13,000 men and women, and then looked at the incidence of asthma in their children. The results showed that asthma was much more common in children whose fathers were smokers before conception. A child’s risk of asthma increased if the father smoked before age 15, and the risk grew the longer the father smoked.

To Curb Abuse, Patients Allowed to Return Unused Pills to Pharmacies

Concerned by rising rates of prescription drug abuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Monday that it will permit consumers to return unused prescription medications like opioid painkillers to pharmacies. The move is intended to help reduce stockpiles of unneeded medicines in homes, which are often pilfered by teenagers. Under the new regulation, patients and their relatives will also be allowed to mail unused prescription drugs to an authorized collector using packages to be made available at pharmacies and other locations like libraries and senior centers.

CVS Ends Tobacco Sales, Changes Name to Emphasize Health

CVS Caremark Corp. halted sales of tobacco products almost a month ahead of schedule, started a smoking-cessation campaign, and changed its name to position itself as health-care provider in the growing U.S. market. CVS Health, as the company now calls itself, will forgo $2 billion in annual revenue as it becomes the first national pharmacy chain to end tobacco sales.

Are Females More Susceptible to Effects of Marijuana?

In the first study to assess sex differences in sensitivities to THC, the key ingredient in cannabis, researchers have found that smoking the concentrated marijuana of today may be riskier for women – thanks to the hormone estrogen.

Join Texas Recovers for the Big Texas Rally for Recovery, Saturday, Sept. 13th

Join thousands of people from across Texas at the State Capitol in Austin for National Recovery Month, Saturday, September 13th, 2014, to show your support for people living in and seeking Recovery in Texas from addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. Join people in recovery, their family members and friends, addiction treatment professionals and allies in Texas. Let’s spread the positive message that people can and do recover!

All aboard for Big Texas Rally for Recovery

The Big Texas Rally for Recovery will be held on the State Capitol grounds in Austin on Saturday, Sept. 13, in honor of National Recovery Month for the fifth year in a row.

One in 10 Deaths Among Working-age Adults Due to Excessive Drinking

Excessive alcohol use accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age adults ages 20-64 years in the United States, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published today in Preventing Chronic Disease. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010, and shortened the lives of those who died by about 30 years.  These deaths were due to health effects from drinking too much over time, such as breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease; and health effects from drinking too much in a short period of time, such as violence, alcohol poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes.  In total, there were 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year due to excessive alcohol use.

More Americans Use Cannabis, Seek Treatment: UN Drugs Agency

More Americans are consuming cannabis as their perception of the health risks declines, the U.N. drugs agency said on Thursday, suggesting liberalization may further increase its use among the young. In a finding that could feed into an international debate on the decriminalization of marijuana, it said more people around the world, including in North America, were seeking treatment for cannabis-related disorders.

CDC releases new round of anti-smoking ads featuring former smokers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new round of aggressive anti-smoking ads, part of its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign. Featuring real people living with the effects of tobacco use, the ads are scheduled to begin appearing nationwide on July 7.

Tobacco Companies Have Made Cigarettes Deadlier than Ever

Over the last five decades, the tobacco industry has engineered cigarettes to be more addictive — and has also made them more dangerous. Smokers suffer from higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) today compared to 1964, when the very first Surgeon General’s report on cigarettes was issued. An infographic from Tobacco Free Kids lays out exactly how cigarettes have changed in the last 50 years.

AMA Calls for Stricter E-cigarette Regulation

The American Medical Association adopted a new policy at the 2014 AMA Annual Meeting opposing the sale and marketing of electronic cigarettes and nicotine delivery products to minors. The new policy extends AMA’s existing policy, adopted in 2010, that calls for all e-cigarettes to be subject to the same regulations and oversight that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) applies to tobacco and nicotine products.

50% of Americans Take Prescription Drugs

About half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug each month, and 10% take more than four, according to a new government report. Consumption of pain medications called opioid analgesics increased 300% between 1999 and 2010, and death rates in people age 15 and older involving these drugs more than tripled between 2000 and 2010.

Marijuana Use Affects Sperm Quality

The world’s largest study on sperm shape and size has identified marijuana use as a major predictor of sperm abnormality. Cannabis use changes the size and shape of sperm, potentially affecting male fertility. The researchers advise that men aiming to start a family should probably stop using marijuana.

Austin Is at the Center of a Major Synthetic Marijuana Manufacturing and Distribution Ring, Officials Say

Federal authorities have broken up a major synthetic marijuana manufacturing and distribution ring. At the center of the probe is The Gas Pipe, a popular head shop with locations across North Texas and in Austin.

Seniors and Prescription Drugs: As Misuse Rises, So Does the Toll

Hundreds of thousands of seniors are misusing prescription medication, mostly narcotic painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. As the problem has grown, so have the consequences, from treatment program admissions to emergency room visits and overdose deaths.

Xanax-related ER Visits Double in 6 Years

Alprazolam, the prescription sedative more commonly known by its brand name, Xanax, is being implicated in a spiraling number of emergency room visits, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Over the past few years, the number of ER visits associated with misuse of the drug more than doubled.

SAMHSA Considering Changes to Privacy of Alcohol and Substance Records

Although electronic health records (EHRs) have revolutionized the coordination of care, physicians and mental health practitioners are often left in the dark about their patients’ substance abuse history and treatment because of outdated confidentiality requirements meant to protect individuals from the stigma of being labeled as an abuser of alcohol or drugs.  Long overdue changes to the confidentiality requirements applied to alcohol and substance abuse treatment records may finally be on the way.

Study Gives E-Cigarettes Edge in Helping Smokers Quit

A large study in England has found that smokers trying to quit were substantially more likely to succeed if they used electronic cigarettes than over-the-counter therapies such as nicotine patches or gum. These results offered encouraging but not definitive evidence in the contentious debate about the risks and benefits of these increasingly popular smoking devices.

Conservative Group Begins Pushing for Medical Marijuana in Texas

A conservative group says it will begin pushing hard for the legalization of marijuana for medical use in Texas, 1200 WOAI’s Berit Mason reports. Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, or MAMMA, says the group will be urging lawmakers in the sessions that begins in January to push for revisions in state law to allow marijuana to be used as a treatment, especially for sick children who suffer from the seizures associated with autism.

The Three Deadliest Drugs in America are All Totally Legal

As the US debates drug policy and marijuana legalization, there’s one aspect of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are perfectly legal.

E-Cigarettes Expose People to More than ‘Harmless’ Water Vapor and Should be Regulated, UCSF Scientists Find

In a major scientific review of research on e-cigarettes, UC San Francisco scientists found that industry claims about the devices are unsupported by the evidence to date, including claims that e-cigarettes help smokers quit. The review marks the first comprehensive assessment of peer-reviewed published research into the relatively new phenomenon of electronic cigarettes.

E-Cigarettes and Mental Health

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that people living with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions are twice as likely to have tried e-cigarettes and three times as likely to be current users of the controversial battery-powered nicotine-delivery devices, as people without mental health disorders. They are also more susceptible to trying e-cigarettes in the future in the belief that doing so will help them quit, the scientists said. The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.

New Policy Will Change NFL Pot Discipline

It would be too late to help Josh Gordon, Will Hill or anyone else in danger of a lengthy suspension for violations of current rules, but when and if the NFL’s new drug policy is finalized and announced, it will include changes specific to marijuana and other drugs of abuse. A source told on Tuesday that the renegotiation of the drug policy, which has been going on since 2011 and includes testing for human growth hormone, also will significantly increase the threshold for a positive marijuana test and reduce the punishments for violations involving that drug. The source said the NFL’s policy on marijuana is outdated, pointing out that the World Anti-Doping Agency has a higher threshold for a positive test than the NFL currently does.

Two States to Consider Banning Powdered Alcohol

Legislators in Minnesota and Vermont have introduced measures that would ban powdered alcohol. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved labels for a powdered alcohol product called “Palcohol,” but earlier this month said the approval was a mistake.

U.S. Proposal Would Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors, Allow Advertising

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children. The long-awaited proposal, which would subject the $2 billion industry to federal regulation for the first time, is not as restrictive as some companies had feared and will likely take years to become fully effective.

Powdered Alcohol Approval Was An Error

Don’t expect powdered alcohol to hit store shelves anytime soon. A product called “Palcohol” gained widespread attention online in recent days after it was reported that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the powdered alcohol, including vodka and rum varieties. But a representative for the federal bureau, Tom Hogue, said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued in error.

Surge in Opioid Prescriptions for Pregnant Women

Doctors are prescribing opioid painkillers to pregnant women in astonishing numbers, new research shows, even though risks to the developing fetus are largely unknown.

E-Cigarette Makers Targeting Youth, Congressional Report Says

An investigation by Democratic members of Congress into the marketing practices of electronic cigarette companies found that major producers are targeting young people by giving away free samples at music and sporting events and running radio and television advertisements during youth-oriented programs. The inquiry, led by Senator Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, and Representative Henry A. Waxman, a Democrat from California, was conducted as the Food and Drug Administration prepares a major package of tobacco control rules that would place e-cigarettes under federal regulation for the first time. The new rules have been slow to appear, and lawmakers said they hoped their report might help speed their release.

Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes

A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel. The drug is nicotine, in its potent, liquid form — extracted from tobacco and tinctured with a cocktail of flavorings, colorings and assorted chemicals to feed the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry. Toxicologists warn that e-liquids pose a significant risk to public health, particularly to children, who may be drawn to their bright colors and fragrant flavorings like cherry, chocolate and bubble gum.

Electronic Cigarettes May Not Help People Stop Smoking: Study

A small U.S. study raises new questions about whether using electronic cigarettes will lead people to quit smoking, adding to the debate over how tightly the products should be regulated. The study, which looked at the habits of 88 smokers who also used e-cigarettes, was published as a research letter in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday. It found that smokers who also used e-cigarettes were no more likely to quit smoking after a year, compared to smokers who didn’t use the devices.

Drunk-Driving Deaths Under-Reported in U.S., Study Says

Alcohol’s role in U.S. traffic deaths is significantly under-reported, a new study shows. Between 1999 and 2009, slightly more than 3 percent of death certificates listed alcohol as a contributing cause in fatal traffic crashes. But highway data showed that 21 percent of the people killed in those crashes were legally drunk, according to the study published in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Attorneys General Urge Retailers to Follow CVS and End Tobacco Sales

Twenty-eight attorneys general from 24 states, three U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. are pressuring five retailers, including Walgreen Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to follow the move by CVS Caremark Corp. and end sales of tobacco.

E-Cigarettes Don’t Discourage Smoking Among Teens

Are e-cigarettes the lesser of two evils, or just another method of nicotine exposure? It’s a question public health experts are debating. Some question the benefits of steering smokers towards less harmful products on the nicotine product spectrum. And a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests what medical experts dread: that people who use e-cigarettes are also likely to be regular cigarette users.

Hangovers Don’t Delay the Next Drink, Study Says

While it may seem like the pain and suffering of a morning hangover might deter people from drinking again later that day, a new study found that hangovers only have a modest effect on subsequent alcohol consumption.

Los Angeles Moves to Ban E-Cigarettes, Joining NY, Others

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to ban the use of electronic cigarettes, also known as “vaping,” from restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other public spaces in the nation’s second-largest city. A spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed to Reuters that he would sign the measure into law in the coming days. When he does, Los Angeles will join a growing list of cities, including New York, Boston and Chicago, that restrict the use of e-cigarettes.

Secondhand Smoke in Childhood Thickens Arteries

Secondhand smoke causes irreversible damage to children’s arteries and puts them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke later in life, a new study says.

Medical Marijuana TV Ad Makes History in U.S.

A company called says it made history Monday when one of its commercials was aired by the biggest cable TV provider in the United States. The TV spot began airing in New Jersey only and it will be played 800 times over the next two weeks. One of the company’s owners called it significant that the commercial is airing across the entire state and is being aired by Comcast, a telecommunications giant.

Smoking Tied to Changes in the Structure of Teen Brains

Young smokers who have smoked more cigarettes have clear differences in their brains compared to lighter smokers, according to a new study.

Study: Drinking Age of 21 Saves Lives

A BU public health researcher is hoping to eighty-six any further debate about rolling back the nationwide legal drinking age of 21 with a new study that argues the law saves lives — even though underage youths widely disregard it. William DeJong of Boston University’s School of Public Health calls his report, published today, “Case Closed.”

Drug Czar R. Gil Kerlikowske Calls for More Access to Heroin Antidote

White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske on Tuesday called for making naloxone, a drug that has been highly effective at reversing heroin overdoses, more widely available to emergency-care providers and other first responders.

CVS Stores to Stop Selling Tobacco

CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1. The retailer said the move makes CVS/pharmacy the first chain of national pharmacies to take tobacco products off the shelves.

Ready Access, Low Cost, Pill-Like High: Heroin’s Rise and Fatal Draw

The low cost, the readily availability and the prescription pill-like high makes heroin a draw that’s hard to resist. If autopsy results bear out what officials suspect, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman will be the latest in a growing list of substance abusers who paid a deadly price for using heroin. Heroin has been a scourge for a long, long time. But lately, it’s showing an uptick that has authorities, health officials and parents disturbed.

Snacks Laced With Marijuana Raise Concerns

As marijuana tiptoes further toward the legal mainstream, marijuana-infused snacks have become a booming business. But the popularity of edible marijuana has alarmed parents’ groups, schools and some doctors, who say the highly concentrated snacks are increasingly landing in the hands of teenagers looking for a sweet, discreet high, or of children too young to know the difference between pot brownies and regular ones.

Breaking Bad Comes True: Blue Meth On Rise in New Mexico

Federal investigators in New Mexico said Tuesday that blue-tinted meth inspired by the hit TV show Breaking Bad is on the rise in New Mexico, where the award-winning AMC series was set and filmed.

Shumlin Lifts Veil on Heroin Abuse in Vermont

Most governors use State of the State messages to make ambitious — and often quickly forgotten — promises on budgets and taxes. But in Vermont, Governor Peter Shumlin used his entire annual address Wednesday to implore citizens to “stop quietly averting our eyes from the growing heroin addiction in our front yards.” In a sparsely populated state known for rolling pastures and iconic brands of butter and ice cream, Shumlin lifted the veil on a “full-blown” crisis. The state has seen a 250 percent increase in heroin treatment since 2000, twice the number of deaths from heroin overdoses last year compared with the year before, and five times more federal indictments against heroin dealers than in 2010.