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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 24: A man uses heroin under a bridge where he lives with other addicts in the Kensington section of Philadelphia which has become a hub for heroin use on January 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over 900 people died in 2016 in Philadelphia from opioid overdoses, a 30 percent increase from 2015. As the epidemic shows no signs of weakening, the number of fatalities this year is expected to surpass last year's numbers. Heroin use has doubled across the country since 2010, according to the DEA, part of an epidemic. Officials from Philadelphia recently announced that they want to become the first U.S. city to allow supervised drug injection sites as a way to combat the opioid epidemic. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a twist completely apropos for 2018, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has received a patent for a medication designed to treat opioid addiction. Purdue Pharma is largely considered to be responsible for the current opioid epidemic.

The patent is not for an entirely new medication; rather, it is for a new and fast-acting form of an existing medication: buprenorphine.

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Any public health official interested in resolving North America’s opioid crisis should be looking towards national legalization of medical marijuana. That’s the conclusion of two new studies recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, an American Medical Association journal.

“In this time when we are so concerned — rightly so — about opiate misuse and abuse and the mortality that’s occurring, we need to be clear-eyed and use evidence to drive our policies,” said W. David Bradford, an economist at the University of Georgia and an author of one of the studies. “If you’re interested in giving people options for pain management that don’t bring the particular risks that opiates do, states should contemplate turning on dispensary-based cannabis policies.”

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Christopher Heide, who recounts his struggles with opioid addiction in the following article. Heide is now a substance abuse disorder clinician based in Seattle. (Photo Credit: Chris Monsos)

Imagine feeling so thirsty and hungry that your entire survival depends on quenching it. Now imagine that same mighty thirst for drugs and alcohol. An urge so powerful it tells you that you will die without them. That is just a small glimpse of what it is like to be an addict.

America is currently in the midst of a devastating opioid epidemic. In 2016 alone, 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, which is more than the number of casualties from the Iraq and Vietnam wars combined. Unfortunately, addiction is heavily stigmatized and misunderstood, and many people believe that the disease is the result of a choice, a moral failing or lack of willpower. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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MIAMI, FL - APRIL 24: Julia Boyle enjoys an electronic cigarette as she waits for customers at the Vapor Shark store on April 24, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Brandon Leidel, CEO, Director of Operations Vapor Shark, said he welcomes the annoucement by the Food and Drug Administration that they are proposing the first federal regulations on electronic cigarettes, which would ban sales of the popular devices to anyone under 18 and require makers to gain FDA approval for their products. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Cigarettes can be one of the most difficult addictions to quit, as addictive as heroin. So the rise of vaping—inhaling vaporized nicotine through electronic “e-cigarettes”—has been touted as the perfect solution to help smokers quit, or to offer a less toxic alternative to smoking.  

However, recent research has begun to look more closely at these allegedly reduced risks of vaping to health and finding them not as benign as they had initially thought.

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Is sugar really as addictive as cocaine and other drugs? Just how addictive is sugar? These questions have been buzzing for years.

In the 1960s, the idea of healthy food consumption was still novel. The understanding that fats affect our risk of heart disease was also new; public consciousness was not yet centered on the effects of fats and sugars on our bodies and overall health. Since the 1960s, however, numerous independent and peer-reviewed studies have concluded that sugar consumption is a substantial component when it comes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The sugar industry denies all such claims.

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ST. JOHNSBURY, VT - FEBRUARY 06: Drugs are prepared to shoot intravenously by a user addicted to heroin on February 6, 2014 in St. Johnsbury Vermont. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin recently devoted his entire State of the State speech to the scourge of heroin. Heroin and other opiates have begun to devastate many communities in the Northeast and Midwest leading to a surge in fatal overdoses in a number of states. As prescription painkillers, such as the synthetic opiate OxyContin, become increasingly expensive and regulated, more and more Americans are turning to heroin to fight pain or to get high. Heroin, which has experienced a surge in production in places such as Afghanistan and parts of Central America, has a relatively inexpensive street price and provides a more powerful affect on the user. New York City police are currently investigating the death of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who was found dead last Sunday with a needle in his arm. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In 2016 alone, prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for more than 64,000 deaths. Fentanyl alone accounted for a 600 percent increase in opioid-related deaths between 2014 and 2016. In the journey to solve this epidemic, addiction researchers may have finally stumbled upon an answer that could one day save thousands of lives and slow down the tragedy eroding parts of the country--a vaccine that might inoculate the brain against drugs like heroin and other opioids.

While heroin and its prescription cousins, like Vicodin and oxycontin, are plenty addictive themselves, drug users have been turning to synthetic versions of these drugs that “can sometimes be as much as 100 times more potent than heroin,” said chemist Kim D. Janda of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society. Black market opiates are rumored to be as much as 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. “Moreover, many patients [are] receiving treatment relapse," Janda added.

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Credit; http://www.clickondetroit.com/lifestyle/is-it-ever-ok-to-use-a-cellphone-at-the-dinner-table

[DIGEST: BBC, Forbes, Mirror, LA Times, Psychology Today]

It’s a familiar sight all over the world: Families at home together, but everyone engrossed in their cell phones instead of interacting.

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