Prevention Update

A unique update on what is happening in the world of drug abuse prevention.

Welcome to Prevention Update, Mentor International's daily comment on latest news, research, statistics, policy updates, information on resources and events. It is relevant in particular to practitioners and policy makers but equally valuable and interesting to all who form the drug prevention community.

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New research suggests e-cigarettes more harmful than regular ones

New research by Japanese scientists says that electronic cigarettes are actually more harmful than tobacco cigarettes. According to the scientists e-cigarettes contain up to 10 times the level of cancer-causing agents than tobacco. "In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette," said researcher Naoki Kunugita. The research was done by scientists at the National Institute of Public Health commissioned through Japan’s Health Ministry. There has been a lot of conflicting information and research regarding the dangers and effects of e-cigarettes. Some believe that they are useful in helping smokers quit while others see them as just as harmful as tobacco. This research points to the latter of those opinions. Many countries, including Japan, do not regulate e-cigarettes. Some of the carcinogens found in e-cigarettes were formaldehyde and acetaldehyde as well as other toxic chemicals. "We need to be aware that some makers are selling such products for dual use (with tobacco) or as a gateway for young people to start a smoking habit,” said Kunugita.


E-cigarettes contain up to 10 times carcinogens: Japan research

Teens with brain injuries more likely to use drugs

Teens who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI, like a concussion) are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, particularly crystal meth. A new study conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published in the Journals of Head Trauma Rehabilitation surveyed Ontario students in grades 9 and 12 who had a history of TBI. The research showed that their drug use rates are 2-4 times higher than their peers without a history of TBI. "Overall, a teen with a history of TBI is at least twice as likely as a classmate who hasn't suffered a brain injury to drink alcohol, use cannabis or abuse other drugs," said Dr. Michael Cusimano, co-principal investigator of the study and a neurosurgeon at St. Michael's Hospital. "But when you look at specific drugs, those rates are often higher." According to the data teens with a history of TBI in the last 12 months are 3.8 times more likely to have used crystal meth and non-prescribed tranquilisers or sedatives. They are 2.8 times more likely to have used ecstasy, 2.6 times more likely to have used hallucinogens, and 2.5 times more likely to have used cocaine and LSD. "On top of the other health consequences, substance abuse increases the odds of suffering an injury that could result in a TBI, and using some of these substances may also impair recovery after injury,” said Dr. Cusimano. The data give important insights into the broader effects of TBI’s when sustained at a young age. They can lead to larger health problems including drug and alcohol abuse later in life.


The dangers of prescription drugs for teens

Scientists have discovered a possible link between recreational drug use and prescription anti-anxiety or sleep medications in teenagers. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan School of Nursing, teens that are prescribed anxiety or sleep medication are up to 12 times more likely to abuse the drugs than those who were never prescribed these drugs. "I recognize the importance of these medications in treating anxiety and sleep problems. However, the number of adolescents prescribed these medications and the number misusing them is disturbing for several reasons,” said Carol Boyd, author of the study and professor of nursing. Anxiety and sleep medications are extremely addictive and relatively easy to abuse. When mixed with alcohol or narcotics they can be deadly.


Drop in drinking among Scottish youth

According to a new study, the percentage of young people drinking alcohol, smoking, and using drugs is at the lowest level ever recorded in Scotland. This data comes from a 2013 report published by the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS). The survey sampled over 30,000 students and gave researchers interesting insight into their practices, trends, mental health, home environment, peer influence, and school based drug and alcohol education.

In 2013 the percentage of 15-year-olds who drank alcohol in the past week was at 19%, which was down from 34% in 2010. For 13-year-olds it was down 10% from 2010. The figures for drug use among 15-year-olds were also down from 2010 and at their lowest since 1998. 76% of the students surveyed said that they had never smoked which was up from 45% in 2002. 83% of 15-year-olds and 96% of 13-year-olds said that they had never used drugs, the highest figure since 1998. The survey results also showed a correlation between an individual's risky behaviours and the behaviours of those around them like parents or peers. 65% of those who considered themselves regular smokers also reported having at least one parent who smoked daily as well as many friends who smoked daily. 24% of all the students surveyed reported that someone smoked in their home on a daily basis.


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Research Methodologies: Communication and Media for Development

Hosted by BBC Media Action, the communication initiative is convening a one-day meeting on March 16, 2020 to discuss and debate credible methodologies for research on communication and media for development/social and behavioural change themes. The event will be at the BBC in London.

Tackling Alcohol-Related Harm to Create a Healthier Britain

Alcohol-related harm is a pressing issue in the UK, one which requires serious attention and viable solutions. Alcohol misuse is a complex problem which needs to be explored and debated in more depth. This event provides delegates with an opportunity to be updated on current legislation and policy deliberations whilst hearing from experts across the field.This briefing will be ideal for those with an interest in reducing alcohol consumption and coping with alcohol-related harm. This could include local governments, healthcare professionals, academics and researchers, charity workers, support services and campaigners.

2015 National Mentoring Summit

The 2015 National Mentoring Summit will take place January 28-30, 2015 at the Renaissance Washington, DC, Downtown, in the heart of our nation’s capital. The 2015 Summit will be extended to a three-day event to incorporate an advocacy activity on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 28. This event is the only national forum that brings together practitioners, researchers, corporate partners, government and civic leaders, national youth-serving organizations and the network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships to explore and advance mentoring’s positive impact on individuals and communities.

2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities & Colleges

he 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges will create a dynamic meeting place for researchers, practitioners, administrators, students and policy-makers from around the world to explore pressing issues and identify promising paths for healthy and sustainable campus development.The conference is intended to mobilize the power and highlight the responsibilities of institutions of higher education to provide exceptional learning opportunities for students, to develop vibrant campus communities where everyone thrives, and to advance knowledge and practices relevant locally and globally.The interactive conference design will support knowledge exchange among a diversity of people interested in the intersections of: human and environmental health and wellbeing, ecosystem sustainability, economic development, and learning and productivity on campuses and beyond. The conference will include plenaries, panels, concurrent sessions, talking circles, networking, and consensus building.


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