Addiction and Drug Use

The Kids Are Alright: Risky Teen Behaviors On The Decline

Feb 13, 2015
a group of teenagers lying in a big clump
Son of Groucho via Flickr

Maybe it's time to give teenagers some credit: Recent data shows rates of teen pregnancy and abortion are at historic lows, and teens are drinking less and taking fewer hard drugs. However, marijuana use among teens is up. Sound Medicine's Barbara Lewis spoke with Dr. Theresa Rorhr-Kirchgraber, professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine, about the good news. 

Senegal is full of tourist attractions: sandy beaches, historic buildings, religious sites. But when historian Donna Patterson visits, she heads to the drugstore.

New numbers released by the federal government reveal a continuing upward trend in drug overdose deaths, with 43,982 deaths in 2013 from both prescription medications and illegal drugs combined. Deaths involving prescription opioids increased 1 percent from 2012, while heroin-related deaths rose a staggering 39 percent.  However, almost twice as many people died from prescription opioid overdoses (16,235) as from heroin (8,257).

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin attracted national attention last January when he devoted his entire State of the State address to Vermont's opiate addiction problem.

For the first time, he said, the number of people seeking drug addiction treatment had surpassed those getting help for alcoholism, and many had nowhere to go.

Ramunas Geciauskas/

At Harvard University’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, mental health patients are given access to their therapists' notes, as part of their innovative Open Notes program. Dr. Michael Kahn, a psychiatrist at Beth Israel wrote about why the program was launched in a recent JAMA article. Here, he reflects on what clinicians are learning from it. 

Opioid Prescriptions Can Go Missing Between Hospital and Nursing Home

Dec 8, 2014

Madison, Wisconsin - Better communication between hospital and nursing home can thwart people determined to steal opioid prescriptions.

FDA Approves Slow-Release Painkiller

Nov 21, 2014

The FDA has approved a new opioid painkiller that releases over a 24-hour period, and is designed to reduce abuse by people chewing or smashing it into a powder for injection. However, the agency admits that abuse and overdose of the drug Hysingla is still possible.

Michael Regan of Bloomberg News spoke to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the new drug.

Study Identifies Potential Treatment Target For Cocaine Addiction

Nov 3, 2014

A study led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has identified a potential target for therapies to treat cocaine addiction.  In their study receiving advance online publication in Molecular Psychiatry, the investigators find evidence that changing one amino acid in a subunit of an important receptor protein alters whether cocaine-experienced animals will resume drug seeking after a period of cocaine abstinence.

Checkup: Safe Disposal Of Opioids

Oct 10, 2014
Eric Norris/

In September, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would allow patients to return unused opioid painkillers to pharmacies, as a way to tackle the growing issue of prescription drug abuse. Deborah Frye, Deputy Director of Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, explains why this is a step in the right direction. 


The federal government is finalizing new restrictions on hundreds of medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S.

The new rules mean that drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and their generic equivalents will be subject to the same prescribing rules as painkillers like codeine and oxycodone.

An Almost Addiction

Jul 26, 2014
Alan Cleaver/

It's possible to be almost addicted to a substance, according to Wesley Boyd, who co-authored the book "Almost Addicted" in 2012. Dr. Boyd is the founder of the Human Rights and Asylum Clinic at CHA; a physiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance; and on the faculty of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. 

Prescriptions for narcotic painkillers have surged in recent years. Fatal overdoses and abuse of the drugs have risen, too. Doctors and patients are grappling with how to balance the need for pain relief with the potential for trouble.

Zapping Addiction

Jun 2, 2014
stock photo

Addictive habits, like smoking, are hard to break, but did you know that switching cells on in the brain may be key to helping addicts kick their habit?

stock photo

Addictive habits, like smoking, are hard to break, but did you know that switching cells on in the brain may be key to helping addicts kick their habit?

Sound Medicine: April 20, 2014

Apr 20, 2014

The "Sound Medicine" program for April 20

  • Ebola outbreak in Guinea
  • The "gate-keeping" role of pharmacists
  • Insurance coverage of rehabilitation for prescription painkiller addiction

Marijuana As Medical Therapy

Jan 26, 2014

Sound Medicine: January 5, 2014

Jan 5, 2014

The “Sound Medicine” program for January 5, 2014

  • Waking up to opioids and stopping the cycle of addiction 

Sound Medicine: July 13, 2008

Jul 13, 2008

Topics for this week include: Biosurveillance in Public Health; Did You Know?: White Blood Cells Fight Cancer; Doc Chat: Pandemic Influenza Summit in Indianapolis; Checkup: Music as Therapy; Researching the "Hunger Hormone"; Advice from a Former Food Addict