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The Top Alcohol and Drug Stories of 2009

Deaths Links to Laced Cocaine


Updated March 02, 2013

The top alcohol and drug-related stories of 2009 include a warning about cocaine laced with a drug used to deworm animals, an effort to get more hospitals to screen for substance abuse, a new dangerous way to manufacture methamphetamine and possible regulation of a new group of energy drinks.

1. Laced Cocaine Prompts Nationwide Health Alert

Cocaine User
Health officials have stepped up their efforts to call attention to health risks caused by cocaine laced with levamisole, a veterinary anti-parasitic drug. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a nationwide health alert to medical professionals, substance abuse treatment centers and other public health authorities.

2. Group Hopes to Link Accreditation to Addiction Screening

Doctor's Clipboard
For years, alcohol and drug treatment advocates have tried to get hospitals and primary healthcare providers to screen all of their patients for alcohol and drug problems because it could lead to more people getting intervention and treatment, leading ultimately to lower health care costs for society. However, few healthcare providers do the screenings as part of their routine.

3. New 'Shake and Bake' Meth Method Explodes

Meth Bottle
© KAUZ.com
A new method of manufacturing methamphetamine, designed to get around laws restricting sale of the ingredients needed to make meth, is spreading across the country and law enforcement officials claim the new "shake and bake" process is even more dangerous than the old makeshift meth labs.

4. FDA to Examine Alcohol Energy Drinks

Alcohol Energy Drinks
Are those new alcohol energy drinks really safe? Doesn't adding caffeine to an alcoholic beverage encourage the consumption of even more alcohol? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking at the safety and legality of alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine as an additive.

5. College Drinking, Deaths Still Increasing

Drinking Couple
In spite of stepped up interventions and prevention programs, alcohol-related deaths, binge drinking and drunk driving have all increased on college campuses during the past decade. The increases are discouraging to advocates who have worked to cut back harmful alcohol consumption by college students.

6. Early Interventions Could Save Medicaid Millions

Worried Man
Early intervention for substance abuse could not only improve the health of aging Americans, but could save Medicaid millions of dollars in medical costs, according to a new study from the Center for Health Policy and Research. Older people with substance abuse problems have medical expenses that increase at a far higher rate than behavioral health costs, the study found.

7. Marijuana Use Linked to Risk of Testicular Cancer

Teen Smoker
If you are a male between the ages of 20 and 35, and you are a frequent or long-time marijuana smoker, you could be significantly increasing your risk of developing testicular cancer. If you do develop testicular cancer and you smoke marijuana, it will more likely be the fast-growing (non-seminoma) malignancy that strikes between these ages and accounts for about 40% of all testicular-cancer cases.

8. Father Martin Dies at Age 84

Father Joseph C. Martin
The Rev. Joseph C. Martin, S.S., noted authority and lecturer on alcoholism who co-founded Father Martin's Ashley, an addiction treatment center in Havre de Grace, MD, died today at his home in Havre de Grace. He was 84.

9. Declining Donations Prompt MADD Staff Cuts

Declining donations in a struggling economic environment has prompted Mothers Against Drunk Driving to cut staff positions in its national office as well as state offices in 11 states. With donations down almost 20 percent from last year, MADD National Chief Operating Officer Debbie Weir said the cutbacks were necessary.

10. Pamela Hyde Nominated to Head SAMHSA

Pamela S. Hyde, the former New Mexico Health and Human Services Secretary, was nominated by President Obama to be administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Rear Admiral Eric Broderick served as acting SAMHSA administrator since former head Terry Cline, Ph.D., stepped down in 2008.
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