Heroin Use Surged in the Past Decade, and Other News

Slightly out-of-focus hypodermic needles with heroinHeroin use increased almost 500% between 2001 and 2013, with white males succumbing to heroin addiction at a higher rate than other groups. Researchers from Columbia University surveyed more than 79,000 people about their heroin use. They found 1.6% of adults used heroin in 2012-2013, compared to 0.33% in 2001-2002.

The trend is part of an opioid abuse epidemic that caused opioid-related deaths to surge to 47,055 in 2014. Some experts blame the ready availability of opioid prescriptions, arguing they can serve as gateway drugs leading to heroin use. A 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found 75% of people seeking treatment for opioid addiction were introduced to opioids through prescription drugs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests doctors use non-opioid therapies whenever possible. It also advocates using lower doses and prescription drug monitoring systems when doctors determine they must prescribe opioids.

Sleepless in Space: Therapy Helps Astronauts Snooze

Astronauts often struggle to sleep in space. When the cost of a mistake can be catastrophic, sleep becomes more valuable. To combat sleeplessness without drugs, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Behavioral Health and Performance team offers astronauts a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program that educates astronauts about healthy sleep habits and strategies.

North Carolina Rolls Back ‘Bathroom Bill’; ACLU Says Change Falls Short

North Carolina has officially removed the restrictions set by House Bill 2, which required transgender individuals to only use public restrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate. After backlash from many businesses and associations—including the NCAA, which threatened to remove basketball tournaments from the state—legislative leaders in the state introduced a compromise plan. The new bill prohibits state agencies from controlling access to public restrooms, but critics such as the American Civil Liberties Union say the bill does not go far enough to remove discrimination and protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Do DHA Supplements Make Babies Smarter?

DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, has long been marketed as a potential tool for boosting cognitive development in babies. Research on its efficacy has been inconclusive. A systematic review of data by the Cochrane Collaboration found no benefit to using formula supplemented with DHA. However, it also found no harm associated with the supplement.

Psychology Professor Co-Authors Book Exploring Motivation for Suicide and Those Who Leave Notes

In a new book, Explaining Suicide: Patterns, Motivations and What Notes Reveal, Wright State University psychology professor Cheryl Meyer explores suicide and the notes people may leave behind. Some notes were directed to a specific person. Others offered general explanations. Seventy percent of the notes left behind said suicide was a way to escape physical or psychological pain.

Sex May Be Key to a Happy Marriage, Study Finds

According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, sex could be a key ingredient in the recipe for a happy marriage. Researchers found sex produced a “blissful afterglow” that lasted two days with the potential to improve long-term relationship satisfaction.

Hold Those Babies: Study Shows Early Touch Has Lasting Effects on Babies

New research published in the journal Current Biology suggests gentle touch can have lasting benefits for babies, particularly those born prematurely. Research published in 2016, which looked at the effects of touch-intensive kangaroo care, reached similar conclusions.

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  • Ruth

    March 31st, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    I have a good friend whose great nephew just dies recently of a heroin overdose. Smart kid, great job, college degree, living with his girlfriend of two years and just like that, he’s gone. I think that the back story is that he got hooked on some narcotic pain medication after a surgery and after he couldn’t get those anymore he went to the street to buy and heroin became the drug of choice. I never thought that this could happen to someone that I know, but this whole epidemic is turning that whole belief upside down.

  • Bryanna

    April 3rd, 2017 at 9:40 AM

    Although sex isn’t the only key to a good marriage
    my husband will be so happy to know that it is a big part of it!

  • josef

    April 5th, 2017 at 11:25 AM

    Our little one had to stay in NICU three weeks after being born and they always encouraged that touch and skin to skin contact. I felt that it was very positive experience for me and my wife as well as the baby. It was reassurance that a connection was being made and that everything would eventually be alright.

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