Almost 80 percent of drugs have not been approved for pediatric use, but recent studies are providing important information about drug safety and effectiveness for children. Pediatricians say "it's about time."
2. Tobacco, Keneth E. Warner, Foreign Policy, May/June 2002
For tobacco control advocates, the tobacco industry is public health enemy number one. Its products will kill 500 million of the 6 billion people living today.
Is it possible that the drug war has not been the principal reason for recent prison population increases? Could it be that one of the most infamous eras of incarceration in U.S. history is coming to a close?
The abuse of prescription drugs is sending more people to the hospital, and in some cities, prescription drug overdoses are killing more people than overdoses of cocaine and heroin.
A large portion of U.S. banks' criminal proceeds, conservatively estimated at $250 billion, is derived from the drug trade. That enormous sum makes U.S.banks the world's largest financial beneficiary of the drug trade.
If taking drugs is so bad for us, why do so many do it? Two anthropologists argue that these drugs may have been part of our ancestors' survival strategy.
UNIT 2. Understanding How Drugs Work--Use, Dependency, and Addiction
Drugs make us feel good--but they are addicting because they "co-opt memory and motivation systems." When it comes to breaking a drug habit, going through withdrawal may be just the beginning. Long-term consequences of drug use include effects on nonconscious memory systems that induce cravings.
Researchers are studying all types of addiction--not just to heavy drugs such as cocaine but also to such things as eating, gambling, and the Internet. This article discusses the similarities among these different cravings.
A controversial new anti-addictive drug is being studied. Made from the bark of the root of an African shrub, it may signal the end to craving.
10. Hungry for the Next Fix, Stanton Peele, Reason, May 2002
Stanton Peele argues that the relentless medical search to cure addiction is misguided and that the primary responsibility for recovery lies in the mind of the addict.
The approval by the FDA of a new medication may reshape the landscape of opiate addiction treatment. Can it help the more than 1 million Americans who need it?
12. Finding the Future Alcoholic, Steven Stocker, The Futurist, May/June 2002
Scientists may soon be able to identify children who are likely to become alcoholics. But will society be able to prevent their addiction?
Researchers, regulators, and drug developers met recently to evaluate the current state of drug-abuse liability assessment. This article discusses some key questions about how to best determine the potential for a drug's abuse.
For people with chronic pain, synthetic opioids are a wonderful gift; for other people, they are a prescription for abuse.
UNIT 3. The Major Drugs of Use and Abuse
Some recent research suggests that the health risks from occasional marijuana use are slight, and marijuana just might ease nausea or pain. This article discusses some of the newest findings on marijuana's side effects.
Diet pills may be sold in health-food shops and drugstores, but that does not mean they are safe. "Not only are some weight-loss supplements ineffective, some are out-right harmful--even lethal."
Taking and mixing levels of prescription medicines have triggered a diverse array of drug-taking liabilities. What you should know about the term "by prescription only."
Although for many patients Paxil, a top-selling antidepressant, works amazingly well, others say that getting off the drug has involved true withdrawal. Why weren't they warned?
One person's therapeutic nip may prove to be another's mistake. "With dozens of conflicting reports spilling out each year, is it any wonder that the public is confused about alcohol and health?"
In spite of numerous programs targeting drinking by college students, the rate of binge drinking has stayed consistent for the past 10 years. This article discusses the forces that have long propelled this phenomenon.
Scientists generally attribute nicotine's power to the activity it stimulates in the brain. This article discusses some of the latest scientific discoveries relative to this powerful drug.
22. The Agony of Ecstasy, Ria Romano, The Counselor, February 2002
This article examines the latest list of perils associated with what some say is the most popular illegal drug in America. What do people really know about XTC?
Why has the fall of the Taliban produced a significant increase in poppy planting? Afghan poppies currently account for approximately 80 percent of the heroin supply in Europe. This article discusses political change and opium production.
In an area known for illicit stills and alcohol bootlegging, methamphetamine production is changing the face of the rural landscape. Patrik Jonsson discusses meth's appeal for rural America.
This account of how the drug trade and drug addiction can destroy family life in a small Ohio town is just one snapshot of the rising tide of heroin abuse in small towns in the Midwest. Police in a 10-county area of northern Ohio blame it on proximity to larger cities.
UNIT 4. Other Trends in Drug Use
Methamphetamine, a powerful form of speed, delivers a euphoric high, much like that of heroin and cocaine. Known as "crystal meth," it is just as destructive, and its use is growing among gay men.
After several years of increasing ecstasy use by young people, evidence now suggests the appeal is wearing off. Are teens actually disapproving of its use, as one new survey asserts?
Some argue that ecstasy, a hit in clubs, may put even infrequent users at risk for Parkinson's disease. Others claim that the attack on ecstasy is just a way to thwart rave promoters. Is the evidence mounting against this drug?
29. New Coke, Harry Jaffe, Men's Health, June 2002
Ritalin was the pill that helped hyper kids calm down, and millions of families signed on. Now, Ritalin is the big black-market drug on campus for anyone who wants to work or party harder.
The United Nations fears that drug traffickers are using the Internet as a haven from law enforcement. How easy is it to find drugs on the Web?
The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 was created to encourage private industry to develop needed, but unprofitable, drugs to treat rare diseases. To date 34 products haven been introduced, but abuses may have gained drug companies excessive profits.
When taken correctly, acetaminophen is a safe and effective pain reliever. But recent discoveries are proving that its use may produce dangerous consequences for unknowing individuals.
Once known as angel dust, PCP, or phencyclidine, is cheap and easy to make in the lab and gives users "superhuman strength and a numbing calm." It can also turn them into violent, paranoid addicts. After an apparant decline in its use, emergency rooms are now reporting the violent return of this dangerous drug.
34. GHB's Deadly Allure, Brian Rowley, Muscle and Fitness, June 2002
GHB: party drug, date-rape drug, sleep enhancer, muscle builder. What is the truth about GHB? A firestorm of controversy continues to surround the drug.
The recent rash of ephedra-related deaths has prompted a new look at this long-used and often abused stimulant. Many argue that ephedra must be taken off the market, now!
When 19-year-old Kyle Moores of Manassas, Virginia, discovered that his abuse of the pain reliever oxycontin had left him in debt and unable to hold a job, he finally sought help for his addiction. He serves as one example in the government's new effort to control prescription drug abuse. Can it work?
UNIT 5. Drugs and Crime
GHB is a colorless, odorless drug, and it leaves the body within hours. It's anaesthetic effects, however, have made it a favorite of sexual predators, who use it to render their victims unconscious, then sexually assault them.
Tightened drug laws in Canada and increased antiterrorism security are affecting methamphetamine manufacture. Traffickers who once got their supplies from Canada are now being linked to foreign terrorist organizations.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, methamphetamine is the most prevalent synthetic drug produced in the United States. In making moves to confront this threat, some new strategies for success have emerged.
A Louisiana sheriff has launched one of the largest jail-based therapeutic communities in the country in hopes of turning lives around completely.
In an attempt to reduce drug-related recidivism, Congress has put in place a system of incentives to institute change in the pattern of drug treatment in correctional settings. Are these simple measures overdue?
42. As Drug Use Drops in Big Cities, Small Towns Confront Upsurge, Fox Butterfield, New York Times, February 11, 2002
In some small rural communities, drugs exist as the major industry. This article discusses the rise of drug-related violence in small-town, rural America.
UNIT 6. Measuring the Social Cost of Drugs
Why is it that those most knowledgeable about drugs (e.g. pharmacists) succumb to addiction at rates as high as those in other professions?
Erich Goode argues that the racial disparity in drug arrests is only a symptom of underlying racial injustice--just one more way to perpetuate injustice.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can be dangerous for the developing fetus. This article discusses prevention efforts.
46. Campus Boozing Toll, Ray Delgado, San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2002
This article addresses the consequences of hard-core drinking by college students.
Owing to cultural attitudes toward drug abuse and the amount of social and economic instability in Colombia, treatment programs for drug abuse struggle to be effective. This article describes the "other" unfolding drug crisis in Colombia.
UNIT 7. Creating and Sustaining Effective Drug Control Policy
The Supreme Court has backed the right of schools to randomly drug test their students. The ACLU says the policy violates the Fourth Amendment.
The Bush administration is hinting at sanctions if Canadian lawmakers do not act to prevent more potent Canadian marijuana from entering the United States.
Author Ted Carpenter states that "the willingness of U.S. administrations to collaborate with the most odious dictatorships in the war on drugs is long-standing." The United States contends that its policy reflects the American people's interests.
51. Illegal Drug Use and Public Policy, Michael Grossman, Frank J. Chaloupka, and Kyumin Shim, Health Affairs, March/April 2002
Can one support the goal of the war on drugs to reduce consumption? This article suggests that one can, but that legalization is not the answer.
52. How to Win the Drug War, James Gray, Liberty, May 2003
James Gray argues that unless we change our approach, we will not be able to halt the use and abuse of drugs.
UNIT 8. Prevention, Treatment, and Education
This New York City program is a "revolutionary new model" for drug treatment.
The authors argue that what is needed on college campuses is an approach that focuses on the harm of drug and alcohol abuse.
55. Smoking Cessation, Bernard Karnath, The American Journal of Medicine, April 1, 2002
Smoking is a risk factor for the four leading causes of death in the United States. What really works in combating tobacco addiction?
Is society's response to women who use drugs during pregnancy a health problem or a legal one?
This article discusses an innovative program that addresses the needs of female inmates who have a substance abuse problem.
Henri Cauvin discusses some innovative ideas to address the difficult situation of drug-dependent mothers who wind up in Superior Court because they have neglected their children.
59. Strategy for Alcohol Abuse Education: A Service Learning Model Within a Course Curriculum, Gerald D. Thompson, Susan Lyman, Kathy Childers, and Patricia Taylor, American Journal of Health Education, March/April 2002
Drug abuse education on a college level, should provide students with a more fundamental understanding of the consequences of drug abuse.
This article summarizes research that may help treatment programs to help patients avoid contracting HIV or hepatitis.