Tuesday September 25, 2018

Social environment may influence alcoholism and drug abuse

"Alcohol problems involve biological, psychological and social aspects. Therefore, intervening in the social connections of alcohol abusers may help to mitigate the damage done by alcohol misuse"

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Drug abuse Image Source: ncadd.org
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  • The findings showed that the links between substance use and social connections are bi-directional and strong
  • Nearly 20 per cent of relationship terminations pose a relapse risk to the patients
  • On the other hand around 10 per cent of relationship terminations occur because of the patients’ continued use of substances.

Social relationships including family and friends play a key role in an individual’s recovery from substance-abuse problems and at the same time may also negatively influence them to become an addict, finds a study.

The findings showed that the links between substance use and social connections are bi-directional and strong.

“Our data show that social mechanisms substantially affect clinical outcomes over long periods of time,” said Robert L. Stout, a scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, a US based non-profit organisation.

Often after treatment for substance abuse problems, clinicians urge patients to avoid ‘bad’ social contacts and foster ‘good’ ones, the study said.

Alcohol desgracia Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Alcohol desgracia Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“How clients change their social connections after treatment is a strong indicator of substance abuse outcomes one year and three years later,” Stout added.”

Nearly 20 per cent of relationship terminations pose a relapse risk to the patients.

On the other hand around 10 per cent of relationship terminations occur because of the patients’ continued use of substances.

Family and partner relationships are the least likely to end (roughly 20 per cent over two years), but about half of friendships seem to end over the span of two years.

Substance abuse strongly affects families and friends of alcohol abusers, accounting for much of the harm due to alcohol abuse, said the paper that underlines the importance of investigating how we can address social mechanisms in treatment to improve outcomes.

“Alcohol problems involve biological, psychological and social aspects. Therefore, intervening in the social connections of alcohol abusers may help to mitigate the damage done by alcohol misuse,” Stout suggested.

The team followed patients’ undergoing treatment for drugs and alcohol for two years to examine how changes in new and old relationships are linked to substance abuse.

They focused on factors associated with relationship break ups, observing how different types of relationships affect and are affected by substance use.

The researchers also looked at how relationship changes ultimately affected treatment outcomes.

The results were presented at the 39th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism in New Orleans, recently. (Source: IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Its true that family play a very important role but one should also have strong will power and determination to get rid of alcohol.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, social environment does affect a person’s indulgence in alcohol and drugs

Next Story

Major Opioid Maker Company Opens A Fund For The Damage Caused Due To Addiction

Combating the ongoing crisis of opioid addiction will require innovative approaches to both prevention and medication-assisted treatment.

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Addiction, overdose
Major Opioid Maker to Pay for Overdose-Antidote Development. Pixabay

A company whose prescription opioid marketing practices are being blamed for sparking the addiction and overdose crisis says it’s helping to fund an effort to make a lower-cost overdose antidote.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma announced Wednesday that it’s making a $3.4 million grant to Harm Reduction Therapeutics, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, to help develop a low-cost naloxone nasal spray.

The announcement comes as lawsuits from local governments blaming Purdue, based in Stamford, Connecticut, and other companies in the drug industry for using deceptive marketing practices to encourage heavy prescribing of the powerful and addictive painkillers. Last week, the number of lawsuits against the industry being overseen by a federal judge topped 1,000.

The Cleveland-based judge, Dan Polster, is pushing the industry to settle with the plaintiffs — mostly local governments and Native American tribes — and with state governments, most of which have sued in state court or are conducting a joint investigation. Hundreds of other local governments are also suing in state courts across the country.

The sides have had regular settlement discussions, but it’s not clear when a deal might be struck in the case, which is complicated by the number of parties and questions on how to assign blame.

 

Addiction, overdose
Purdue Pharma offices are seen in Stamford, Connecticut. VOA

 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug overdoses killed a record 72,000 Americans last year. The majority of the deaths involved opioids. But a growing number of them are from illicit synthetic drugs, including fentanyl, rather than prescription opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin.

 

Governments are asking for changes in how opioids are marketed, and for help paying for treatment and the costs of ambulance runs, child welfare systems, jails and other expenses associated with the opioid crisis.

Polster is expected to rule in coming weeks on motions from drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies to dismiss thee claims. Trials in some of the cases — being used to test issues common to many of them — are now scheduled to begin in September 2019.

Purdue agreed to pay $634 million in fines back in 2007 to settle charges that the company downplayed the risk of addiction and abuse of its blockbuster painkiller OxyContin starting in the 1990s.

It’s facing similar accusations again.

Earlier this year, the privately held company stopped marketing OxyContin to doctors.

Addiction, overdose
A police officer demonstrates the use of naloxone in Millersville. VOA

Naloxone

The naloxone grant is a way the company can show it’s trying to help stem the damage done by opioids. “This grant is one example of the meaningful steps Purdue is taking to help address opioid abuse in our communities,” Purdue President and CEO Craig Landau said in a statement.

Naloxone is seen as one major piece in overdose prevention strategies. Over the past several years, most states have eased access to the antidote for laypeople. First responders, drug users and others have taken to carrying naloxone to reverse overdoses. But the price of the drug has been a problem for state and local governments.

Also Read: US Opioid Crisis: Deaths in 2016

Pittsburgh-based Harm Reduction Therapeutics says it is trying to get its version to the market within two years.

“Combating the ongoing crisis of opioid addiction will require innovative approaches to both prevention and medication-assisted treatment,” said Harm Reduction co-founder and CEO Michael Hufford, said in a statement, “but it all starts with making sure lives are not lost from overdose.” (VOA)