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PERSPECTIVE

East Carolina University
Regional Training Center

Prevention & Education
Alcohol & Other Drugs
January 2004Volume 13, No. 5

NATIONAL NEWS
  Emergency room visits mentioning use of narcotic pain medications and marijuana increase in 2002. According to SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), emergency room visits due to abuse of narcotic painkillers rose 20% in 2002 and 45% from 2000 to 2002. DAWN measures mentions of specific illicit, prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are linked to drug abuse in visits to hospital emergency departments. The report was based on intakes of 437 hospitals nationally.
  U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson says that one of our priorities, as a country is to "educate the public about the dangers of misuse of prescription medications." He stated that, "we must continue to strengthen our prevention programs and build substance abuse treatment capacity so that people don't abuse drugs and tax the medical and economic resources of our emergency departments".
  The mention of marijuana use, when patients entered emergency rooms, jumped 24% from 2000 to 2002. In the past, marijuana was mentioned in combination with other drugs, but recently the number of patients who reported marijuana as the only drug, rose 45% from 2000 to 2002. White House Director of National Drug Control Policy, John Walters says that based on this report, people had better be aware of how harmful marijuana can be. "The rising levels of marijuana potency that we've seen over the last several years correspond with dramatic increases in people seeking emergency medical care for marijuana-related incidents."
  Other statistical changes in reporting of substances in emergency departments included a 187% increase of inhalants during the two year period, a 42% rise in PCP, a 78% drop in LSD, a leveling off of ecstasy and GHB, and statistically unchanged levels in cocaine, heroin and alcohol-in-combination with other drugs. Age-specific drug-abuse-related visits showed increases in patients age 18-25 from 127,110 to 140,475, an increase in the age group 45-54 from 88,540 to 101,541 and an increase from 26,036 to 30,987 in the age group of 55 and older. For the full report go to dawninfo.samhsa.gov/.

NORTH CAROLINA NEWS
  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Warning Posters to be Displayed in ABC Stores. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome warning posters will be displayed in each North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control store, thanks to work by the NC General Assembly, the NC FAS Initiative of the Alcohol/Drug Council of NC, and the NC ABC Commission.
  House Bill 1118, passed in July 2003, requires development of an FAS warning sign regarding the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The legislation also mandates that the signs be displayed in an open and prominent place in each ABC store in the state, explained B.J. McMillan of ADCNC, who chairs the FAS Initiative.
  The message on the poster reads: "WARNING: Pregnancy and alcohol do not mix. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects." The poster, printed in English and Spanish, includes a picture of a pregnant woman that McMillan said, "does not reflect a specific race or culture."
  "This is a major victory," McMillan added. "The NC FAS Initiative thanks Rep. Martha Alexander of Charlotte for her hard work on the legislation." McMillan noted the posters should be up by January 2004.
The NC FAS Initiative is comprised of representatives of several state agencies and other North Carolina organizations that deal with substance abuse issues and the overall care of pregnant women, The NC FAS Initiative is actively working with the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies which will host the National FAS Educational Conference on September 11, 2004 at the Friday Center on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.
  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most severe form of alcohol effects on a fetus resulting from a mother's heavy alcohol use, determined to be five or more drinks per occasion, during pregnancy. These effects include growth retardation, facial abnormalities, birth defects, mental retardation, or behavior and learning problems.
  For more information on the posters, the committee or the conference, contact B.J. McMillan at 800-688-4232 or
bj@alcoholdrughelp.org.

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Governor's Academy for Prevention Professionals: Session I, Jan 18-23, University of NC Chapel Hill Student Health Center, Fort Fisher Training Facility, Kure Beach. Contact Donna Woody Nash 919-962-9355.
  • 2004 State Health Director's Conference, Jan 29-30, NC Institute for Public Health, Marriott Raleigh Crabtree Valley, Raleigh. Call 919-966-4032.
  • SAMHSA Faith and Community Based Technical Assistance Conference 2004, Jan 29-30, McKimmon Center, Raleigh. Topic: Sustaining and Strengthening Faith Based and Community Coalitions. Contact La Nica Allison 919-554-4421.
  • 7th Annual Safe and Drug-Free Schools Conference; Department of Public Instruction, Feb 19-20, Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, Research Triangle Park. Contact Juanita Morrison 919-807-3939.
  • 26th Annual Minority Health Conference, Feb 27, The William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center, UNC Chapel Hill. Call 919-966-4032.
  • 2004 NC Winter School, NC Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Studies, Feb 29 - Mar 3, Montreat Conference Center, Black Mountain. The prevention track is designed for professionals who desire a basic knowledge of the components of effective substance abuse prevention. There will be a different module each day to introduce specific areas of importance. An historical perspective, coupled with accepted behavioral theories, provides the foundation for the following modules. Developmental information including prevention categories, characteristics of effective prevention programs and prevention strategies will be presented. Topics will include resiliency, science-based programs and environmental strategies, cross-cultural prevention and coalition building. Call 910-799-6594 or go to www.ncfads.org to register.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

  • White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives makes sure that grassroots leaders can compete on an equal footing for federal dollars, receive greater private support, and face fewer bureaucratic barriers. This website has information such as news, progress, guidance, grants/funding, technical assistance, conferences, centers, compassion capital fund, legislation and a way to join their mailing list. www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/
    The program also provides a Quarterly Update, which offers information about current activities. www.fbci.gov
  • Two new videos on spirituality and religion are available from SAMHSA. These videos are two broadcasts from CADCA. The first is "Faith Community Involvement in Substance Abuse Prevention" (VHS179) and features discussion by several panelists. It highlights the current faith-based and community initiatives movement, faith-based programs that have been or can be implemented by coalitions, and ways in which community coalitions and faith-based groups can successfully collaborate. The second, "Leap of Faith: Bringing Faith-Based Programs Into Your Community Coalition" (VHS180), provides a Federal perspective on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, strategies to actively engage faith-based programs, and a review of research findings on the effectiveness of this collaboration. Both videos are 90 minutes in length and $12.50 each. To order, call SAMHSA at 1-800-729-6686.

Staff: Carol-Ann Tucker, Director; Elizabeth Montgomery, Special Projects Coordinator; Bonnie Cowan, Program Assistant