Research studies (see Stoové et al, 2009) have long associated surviving a drug overdose with the increased likelihood of a future non-fatal or fatal drug overdose. In a 2017 Massachusetts study of opioid overdoses, 10% of those who survived died within the next year from a drug overdose or other causes. In one of the most rigorous U.S. follow-up studies, Dr. Mark Olfson and colleagues compared the mortality rates of people who had survived a non-fatal opioid overdose to demographically matched members of the general U.S. population. They found that those who survived an opioid overdose died in the next year at 24 times the mortality rate of those in the general population, with most deaths attributed to drug-related diseases, subsequent overdose, circulatory disease, respiratory disease, cancer, HIV, viral hepatitis, and suicide. In another study that might be christened an investigation into lost opportunities, Dr. Linn Gjersing and colleagues found in a retrospective analysis of people who died of a drug overdose that 61% had previously sought emergency medical care and that 18% were frequent users of emergency medical services. The reasons for seeking past emergency care included somatic complaints (48%), injury (44%), alcohol and other drug-related medical problems (32%), and drug overdose (26%).
This is just one of the reasons why it is vital to divert drug users into recovery programs, not simply enable and equip them to continue self-harming with substances – These drug use endorsing mechanisms only increase the risk of harm that the same so-called ‘harm reduction’ strategies are supposed to lessen! (D.I. Comment)
Medical research has confirmed that the body’s endocannabinoid system is a finely regulated and highly complex system which is involved in the detailed regulation of essentially all body systems including the brain and cardiovascular systems and stem cell niches.
Studies have shown that the rate of use of cannabis by expecting mothers closely parallels that in the wider community. In fact given the long half-life of cannabis in tissues even were a maternal habitual smoker to stop when she discovered her pregnancy, her infant would continue to be exposed to her on-board cannabinoid load for several months afterwards during critical periods of organogenesis. And other studies show that the father’s cannabis use is even more damaging than the mothers’.
EXCLUSIVE: NAS - neonatal abstinence syndrome - affects babies whose mothers have abused drugs during pregnancy, leaving their babies to go cold turkey after birth. 22:26, 28 JUL 2018
Three babies a day are having treatment for drug addiction after being born hooked on heroin or cocaine.
Shock figures from NHS Digital show hospitals dealt with 5,000 cases of addicted tots over the last four years.
NAS – neonatal abstinence syndrome – affects babies whose mums have abused drugs during pregnancy.
When the umbilical cord is cut, the supply of drugs suddenly stops, so the addicted infant goes cold turkey.
Typical symptoms include high-pitched or incessant crying, tremors, vomiting and sweating.
But babies can also suffer dehydration, diarrhoea, fevers and even seizures.
Some may need medication to treat severe withdrawal symptoms, usually from the same family of drugs as the substance that the baby is addicted to.
Once the signs of withdrawal are controlled, the dosage is gradually decreased to help wean the baby off the drug.
Figures from the NHS show the problem is countrywide.
“Yet none of the women we support wanted to end up in this position. Most are victims of childhood sexual trauma and domestic violence.
"The shame and guilt they feel is huge. But all they need is help and support to break the cycle.
“A mum might come to us on baby four or five. Her previous children have all been taken into care.
“By getting her through treatment, addressing her underlying issues and enabling her to keep her child, we break that cycle of repeat removal.”
JAMA. Published online July 16, 2018. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8401
Increasing public attention has recently been paid to the opioid epidemic and attendant effects on prenatally exposed infants and children. 1Current literature has emerged proposing marijuana as a safe alternative to opioids in addressing pain 2 and cannabis legalization as a way to decrease opioid fatalities. 3 As a result, perceptions of cannabis safety have increased, and the prevalence of marijuana use among pregnant women has expanded; past-month cannabis use among pregnant US women increased from 2.4% to 3.9% between 2002 and 2014. 4 Further, cannabis potency has been substantially increasing over the past 4 decades in the United States, and will likely continue to do so as extraction procedures of active components improve.
Although cannabis does have known medical utility for some conditions, its associated acute and long-term psychoactive effects on brain function are also known. Expanding use of cannabis among pregnant and lactating women (as likely will occur with legalization) may lead to increased risk from fetal and child exposures if the teratogenic potential of cannabis remains underappreciated …The exogenous supply of cannabinoids resulting from THC exposure can adversely affect fetal growth as well as structural and functional neurodevelopment. 6
Prenatal THC exposure has been documented to adversely affect infant neurobehavior and child development up through the teen years,5and postnatal exposures may compound prenatally acquired deficits. Neurobehavioral effects associated with prenatal THC exposure range from dysregulated arousal and motor difficulties at birth to disturbed sleep, memory impairment, aggression, and other developmental and behavioral concerns in childhood. 5
Despite these risks, it appears that clinicians are not addressing cannabis use during pregnancy or lactation; in one study of 74 lactation professionals, 85% encouraged breastfeeding among marijuana-using mothers. 7 Most national breastfeeding guidelines (eg, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) have remained steadfast in recommending against cannabis use during lactation….
The medical community should advise pregnant women to avoid perinatal THC exposure and intervene for women needing treatment, for children at risk for neurobiological and developmental problems, or for dyads at risk for negative outcomes associated with an untreated substance use disorder. Advice from medical professionals should be consistent: pregnant and lactating women should be advised to avoid cannabis use, and women (and men) caring for developing children also should be advised to maintain abstinence. Treatment programs for women with CUD should be available and accessible, and gender and culturally specific, particularly during pregnancy and postpartum periods. Converging, systematic research is necessary at both the preclinical and clinical levels to address insufficient evidence regarding maternal cannabis use 9 and to fully understand the short- and long-term effects of perinatal THC exposure, the effects of maternal cannabis use on fetal outcomes, and the consequences of polysubstance use in treatment and intervention efforts.
Taking Action - Stopping Ice
United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime: Drug Prevention & Treatment
Medicinal Cannabis –
Access to medicinal Cannabis Products (TGA)
Access to medicinal cannabis products: steps to using access ...
Presentations, Statements & Conference Resources from WFAD 2018 Forum