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Survey: Meth use down, thanks to services like NPLEx

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Methamphetamine use is down by 50%, even as use of illicit drugs continued to climb between 2008 and 2010, according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that was released last week.

The number of current methamphetamine users decreased from 731,000 people ages 12 years and older (0.3% of the population) in 2006  to 353,000 (0.1%) in 2010.

"News that the number of methamphetamine users across the nation has declined so substantially demonstrates that the real-time, stop-sale system enacted in 19 states is working," the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators wrote in a press release issued Monday. The majority of those states employ the National Precursor Log Exchange, a real-time electronic logging system funded by industry that’s used by pharmacies and law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine.

"With only two states having put in place prescription-only mandates, it is clear that electronic technology is stopping criminals from obtaining safe and effective medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which in turn is dramatically dropping the number of meth users," NADDI executive director Charles Cichon said.  "As state leaders consider policies that impact the access law-abiding citizens have to popular and reliable medications, they should consider this newly-released data as it validates that a common sense yet effective approach can be implemented to combat meth production and abuse."

Among the survey’s other findings was that the majority (55%) of persons ages 12 years and older who had nonmedically used prescription pain relievers in the past 12 months received them from a friend or relative for free. Only 4.4% of those misusing pain relievers in the past year reported getting their supply from a drug dealer, while 0.4% bought it on the Internet.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 22.6 million Americans ages 12 years or older overall (8.9% of the population) were current illicit drug users. The rate of use in 2010 was similar to the rate in 2009 (8.7%) but above the 2008 rate (8%).

An increased rate in the current use of marijuana seems to be one of the prime factors in the overall rise in illicit drug use, SAMHSA said.

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Survey: 27% of Americans to spend less during 2011 holiday season

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — More than a quarter of Americans expect to spend less during the holidays this year, according to a survey by American’s Research Group, Reuters reported.

About 27% of people surveyed said they planned to spend less this year, while about 55% expect to spend only as much as last year. The question was one of several exclusively asked for Reuters as part of a larger America’s Research Group survey.

More than half of those surveyed said they expected the economy to slow further before it recovers. Only about 18% of Americans plan to spend more this holiday season, down from 23% last year.

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Crest, actress Marilu Henner partner to educate consumers about gum health

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Crest Pro-Health brand is looking to educate older adults about the importance of gum health during the second annual National Gingivitis Awareness Month this September by partnering with actress, author and health advocate Marilu Henner.

To help bring attention to gingivitis, a common, early form of gum disease that affects more than 1-out-of-2 U.S. adults, Crest will engage in a host of activities to support National Gingivitis Awareness Month. These include the partnership with Henner and sponsorship of the Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Invigorating Clean booth at [email protected]+, AARP’s National Event and Expo, which will be held from Sept. 22 to 24 in Los Angeles. Consumers who visit the booth can consult a dental hygienist about oral health questions and concerns and learn more about gingivitis. The booth also will feature a “pledge wall,” where visitors can pledge to better oral health, and receive free samples.

Many adults believe they already are doing everything they can to protect their mouth and do not realize that red gums or minor bleeding during brushing or flossing can be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by plaque bacteria at the gum line that can cause gums to swell. If left untreated, it can progress to a more serious form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, an infection that can be a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Some research suggests there may be a link between periodontitis and other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“As adults age it is critical that they continue to maintain a rigorous oral hygiene regimen, which includes removing plaque from teeth and gums every day with proper brushing and flossing and getting regular cleanings by a dental professional,” said Anne Benson, RDH, Mobile Dentistry of Arizona. “For some patients, we also recommend a clinical care regimen, such as Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection, that provides advanced protection against the bacteria that can cause gingivitis.”

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