Large Study Highlights Impact of Drinking in Pregnancy in Four US Communities

The consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure have been highlighted by three new reports on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in a virtual issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. FASD is the umbrella term for the continuum of effects caused by prenatal drinking, encompassing the most severe form, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and less severe forms including partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS) and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND). Children with FAS have poor growth, atypical facial features, and central nervous system problems, and all three conditions require evidence of neurobehavioral impairment for diagnosis.

Read more

When Automotive Assembly Plants Close, Deaths from Opioid Overdoses Rise

Closing of local automotive assembly plants may lead to increases in deaths from opioid overdose, according to a study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings highlight fading economic opportunity as a driving factor in the ongoing national opioid epidemic, and build on previous research that links declining participation in the labor force to increased opioid use in the U.S. The findings are published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Read more

Study highlights overdose risks of alcohol used with other drugs

Only one in five non-fatal alcohol overdoses results from use of alcohol alone, according to a study of patients in a large addiction treatment facility, with most alcohol overdoses involving concomitant use of other drugs. Alcohol can interact with other drugs ─ including marijuana, central nervous system depressants such as opioids, and stimulants such as cocaine ─ in various ways, and using them together is known to increase the likelihood and severity of overdose. Despite this, there is limited research examining the characteristics of alcohol overdose in the context of concomitant drug use. The new study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, provides a clearer understanding of role of other drug use and its impact on outcomes of alcohol overdose.

Read more