New studies are further exploring the impact tobacco smoke has on pregnancy.
One study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggests stillbirth risks increase when pregnant woman live or work with a smoker. Researchers found that women exposed to tobacco smoke were three times more likely to experience a stillbirth than the unexposed women. The study also found that the smoke impacted a newborn’s weight. Babies born to mothers exposed to secondhand smoke typically weighed 2ozs less than babies born to mothers unexposed to the smoke.
Thirdhand smoke, toxins from secondhand smoke that linger on surfaces, may also be harmful to a baby. Researchers at Harbor UCLA Medical Center conducted an animal study and found thirdhand smoke toxins may damage fetal lung development. The study’s author, Virender Rehan, Ph. D., recommends pregnant women avoid places where thirdhand may be present to prevent exposure to the toxins.
As a result of regulating the purchase of ingredients to manufacture methamphetamine, our country saw a significant decrease in both the manufacturing and availability of meth. However, “chefs” of the drug have devised a way to create meth in smaller doses and in smaller and more mobile labs, making it more difficult for law enforcement to crack down on manufacturers. This new method of producing meth, known as “one pot” or “shake and bake,” involves mixing meth’s ingredients in a two-liter plastic bottle. This means the batch can be stored and carried around more easily than with traditional techniques. It’s also cheaper to manufacture, although the yield is much smaller than with older systems.
In addition to frustrating authorities, the new process is also resulting in a wave of burn victims. Meth-related burn treatment carries an average price tag of $130,000 — over 50 percent higher than other burn victims’ bills. It is estimated that most meth-burn patients do not carry health insurance.
New efforts to combat the problem include states who have enrolled in a network that tracks the sale of the active ingredient in meth, pseudoephedrine, and other states who are proposing legislation that would require a prescription to purchase cold medications containing the ingredient.
On a more positive note, a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is researching whether mirtazapine, an FDA-approved drug used to treat depression, would be beneficial in treating addiction to meth.
Drug abuse and education should be addressed in the workplace. Contact Working Partners to learn more about drug abuse prevention.
From our archives: Previous articles that have some relevance today
Original date: 09/2009
For years clinicians have noted the link between major depression and alcohol dependence. Quite often discussions center on the “chicken and egg” argument. That is, do people drink because they are depressed, or are they depressed as a consequence of their drinking? A study appearing in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research attempts to go beyond correlation and explain a causal relationship between mood and alcohol.
The report, although far from conclusive, does seem to shed some light on the subject. For example, samples indicate that the majority of those dealing with alcoholism have also had a history of depressive symptoms. Conversely, most of those suffering from depression have not had long periods of heavy drinking or a history of alcohol dependency symptoms.
Researchers also found, among other things, that there may be a gender component. For instance, depression followed by alcoholism is more prevalent in females, while the opposite is true of males.
Alcohol abuse and depression can cause many problems in the workplace. For more information on how to maintain an alcohol free workplace, contact Working Partners.
A new painkiller awareness campaign was recently launched in the Buckeye State by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) and the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA). The campaign, called Don’t Get Me Started, features stories from individuals whose lives have been significantly impacted by prescription drug addiction.
The campaign’s website (www.dontgetmestartedohio.org) and Facebook page also include data about the prescription drug abuse epidemic and links to treatment resources.
For more Ohio related information on prescription drugs visit Healthy Ohio’s website.
From our archives: Previous articles that have some relevance today
Original date: 08/2007
A new study by the University of Texas suggests that companies that actively discourage drinking are less likely to have problematic drinkers as employees. The study assessed survey results of 5000 employees of Fortune 500 companies. Employees of businesses that most widely discouraged drinking were:
- 45 percent less likely to drink heavily
- 54 percent less likely to drink frequently
- 69 percent less likely to drink on the job
This research is evidence that the social culture of a company can affect behaviors both in and out of the workplace. For more information on how you can develop a drug-free workplace program for your employees contact Working Partners.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts all states will have smoking bans in restaurants, bars and workplaces by 2020. Currently, 25 states have such comprehensive indoor smoking bans.
The CDC estimates that almost half of U.S. residents are covered by either state or local laws that prohibit smoking. However, several state have laws in place that are less restrictive, such as mandatory smoking areas or separate ventilation, which the CDC does not consider effective in eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke.
According to the Associated Press, only seven states have no statewide restrictions on indoor smoking: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that alcohol-related deaths on our nation’s highways represent 31 percent of all driving deaths. This is a decrease of almost five percent from 2009 to 2010. “While we have more work to do to continue to protect American motorists, these numbers show we’re making historic progress when it comes to improving safety on our nation’s roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Overall, automobile accidents are at the lowest number since 1949, in spite of the fact that travel increased 1.6 percent in 2010.
Employers should continue to be aware of the statistics and utilize alcohol testing for employees to avoid problems in the workplace. Contact Working Partners to learn the elements of a drug-free workplace program.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports the use of synthetic drugs is escalating at an alarming rate. This includes bath salts and synthetic marijuana, “K2” and “Spice.” The drugs are popular in part because most drug tests do not detect them, they are available on many websites and can often be purchased legally.
Currently, 43 states have passed or proposed laws banning specific chemicals in synthetic drugs. It has been difficult to prosecute rogue chemists because they tweak cannabinoids and other mind-altering chemicals to sidestep each ban and create new chemicals that fall outside the bounds of any proposed blanket ban. Some states such as Pennsylvania and Idaho are working feverishly to generate legislation that would close these loopholes by passing broad laws that outlaw substances that mimic illicit drugs, without identifying specific chemicals. Unfortunately, this may depend on the ability to ban entire chemical families in an attempt to ban new varieties before they’re invented.
The task would still be very difficult. Prosecutors would have to show the substances in question are chemically similar to illicit drugs as well as demonstrate the synthetic drugs have the same effect on the body. They also must prove the synthetic drugs are meant to be taken in the same way as illegal drugs, even though the products often have labels stating that they are not for human consumption.
At the federal level, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, approved by the House on December 8, 2011 bans more than 30 synthetic drugs, including bath salts and Spice. The measure would make it illegal to manufacture or dispense the drugs. However, critics say that there are still problems, for example, attaching felony penalties to fake marijuana when the possession of real marijuana is a simple misdemeanor in many states is the wrong approach.
The bill would also give the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) more authority to put temporary bans on potentially hazardous drugs as they are being investigated.
On a related note, the DEA issued a proposal to extend the temporary Schedule I Statius of five synthetic cannabindoids until August 29, 2012
Practicing good synthetic drug awareness is essential to find out which drugs employees may be using. Contact Working Partners to learn more about employee education and supervisor training classes to build drug awareness in your company.
Alcohol consumption is at a 25-year high. A 2010 Gallup Poll found that 67 percent of the U.S. adult population drinks alcohol.
However, there are some interesting regional nuances to Americans’ drinking habits. High consumption rates are found in New England, Upper Plains and far West states, and Washington, D.C. On the other end of the spectrum is the Mid-Atlantic region and the Deep South. The nation’s heaviest drinking is found in New Hampshire where residents consume more than twice the national average.
Additionally, new estimates show that binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought. More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink about four times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is, on average, eight. This behavior greatly increases the chances of getting hurt or hurting others due to car crashes, violence and suicide. Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes 80,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and, in 2006 cost the economy $223.5 billion.
Binge drinking can cause problems in the workplace. Learn how to sustain an alcohol free workplace with Working Partners.