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Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse
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New ways to screen for alcohol and drug misuse

As the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs in the United States, the nation is facing a worsening substance use crisis that has led to a rise in overdose deaths. Using a special set of health care billing codes reserved for screenings and short interventions, practicing psychologists can help patients who use alcohol or other substances before a severe outcome occurs.

In the first year of the pandemic, more than 1 in 10 adults reported starting or increasing their use of alcohol or drugs to cope with the pandemic. In addition, deaths caused by drug overdose have spiked during this public health emergency, primarily driven by opioid use. More Americans died from overdoses in 2020 than in any previous year, and recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show overdose deaths rose again during the first half of 2021.

Keep reading here. 

California debates opening supervised sites for people to use drugs

Lawmakers in California are debating whether to open sites where people can inject or snort illegal drugs under the watchful gaze of a health care worker. These facilities are an effort to save lives as overdoses skyrocket across the country.

"Instead of having people use drugs on the sidewalk when your kid is walking by, we want to give them a place where they can go inside," said state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the sponsor of a bill to pilot facilities in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Smoking Addiction and Mental Health Should Be Treated Together, Study Suggests

A new large-scale study may have uncovered the need to treat smoking, substance use disorders, and mental health problems together. 

Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the study looked at data on more than 441,000 US adults collected over the course of 11 years. While all adults experienced an increase in serious psychological distress throughout that time, those who smoked daily and had a substance use disorder experienced the highest uptick in distress.

Continue reading here.