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May 26, 2016Getting Serious about Substance Abuse Treatment Requires Adopting the Five-Year Recovery Standard
With the nation facing an epidemic of opioid and heroin overdose deaths, now is the time to address the serious need for substance use disorder treatment - and specifically, improved treatment outcomes. Because substance use disorders are life-long diseases, in a new commentary, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD describes lessons that can be learned from the state physician health programs (PHPs) which set the standard for long-term outcomes for substance use disorders. The US health care system is now in the early stages of being transformed to focus intensely on serious chronic disorders including prevention, early intervention, effective treatment and long-term monitoring. Substance use disorders must be a part of this transformation of care management. Dr. DuPont recommends the use of five-year recovery as a standard measure for treatment outcomes. Read more.

April 26, 2016Marijuana Should Not Be Legalized
The New York Times opinion series "Room for Debate" asked if marijuana should be legalized in the face of today's heroin and opioid crisis and if it is a gateway drug. IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD contributed to the series stating that marijuana use is positively correlated with other drug use; marijuana users consume more legal and illegal drugs than non-users. Rather than legalize drugs, effective prevention is needed. He clearly states that establishing marijuana "as a third legal drug, along with tobacco and alcohol, will increase drug abuse, including the expanding opioid epidemic." Read more.

April 15, 2016Highlighting the Impact of Marijuana Legalization for International Drug Policy Leaders
In preparation for the upcoming 2016 UNGASS meeting held in New York, the International Task Force on Strategic Drug Policy (ITFSDP) has developed a paper titled, "Consequences of Marijuana Legalization in the United States and the International Implications." An accompanying one-page handout provides a breakdown of the impact of marijuana legalization in the states of Colorado and Washington. Read more.

April 11, 2016National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit
KET, a Kentucky PBS affiliate, complied highlights from the fifth annual National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia. Among the keynote speakers were President Barack Obama, US Congressman Harold "Hal Rogers, and US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD provides additional commentary about the event at the end of the video segment. Watch the Highlights.

March 31, 2016Advocacy Groups, Lawmakers Redouble Efforts to Make Drug Abuse Key Campaign 2016 Issue
With national polls showing that the majority, 62%, of Americans report drug use is a serious problem in their community and 68% said not enough is being done to improve treatment, there is a strong focus on addiction on the 2016 campaign trail. As the Washington Post reports, "groups around the US that work on addiction-related issues are arranging forums in primary and battleground states to press candidates to back up their expressions of compassion with specific policy recommendations." Read more.

February 2, 2016A Strategy to Assess the Consequences of Marijuana Legalization
The Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. (IBH) has released a new report entitled, A Strategy to Assess the Consequences of Marijuana Legalization. With the passage in several states of ballot and state legislative initiatives to legalize the production, sale and use of marijuana, there is a pressing need for a formal repository of information related to the public health, safety and other consequences, both of marijuana use and of marijuana legalization, as well as changes in public attitude about marijuana use and policies. This requires a sustained and repeated systematic annual collection, analysis and reporting of these data to the public through an annual report. Future public policy decisions will depend on this information. This Strategy urges a Congressional mandate to designate and appropriate the necessary funds for the management and coordination of this work using data and research from new and currently existing federal sources. In addition to a federally mandated reporting system, the Strategy strongly recommends the creation of state-based reporting systems and urges private organizations and foundations to become involved. Read more.

January 15, 2016For Teenagers, Adult-Sized Opioid Addiction Treatment Doesn't Fit
An NPR article takes focus on the struggles of treating opioid addiction among teens, a patient population with unique needs. Today there is a lack of long-term and follow-up care. Few physicians have any training in identifying and treating substance use disorders. Given that most substance use problems begin in adolescence, physicians are in a good position to identify substance use and to provide patients with appropriate care. Read more.

January 13, 2016The Real Dangers of Marijuana
National Affairs features an article on marijuana by Jonathan Caulkins, PhD, Sever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellow University's Heinz College. Dr. Caulkins breaks down data on how marijuana is used in the United States. Specifically, "marijuana use is highly concentrated among the small proportion who use daily or near-daily." Among the highlights, he notes that marijuana " now used in the United States - creates higher rates of behavioral problems, including dependence, among all its users" than alcohol. Read more.

January 11, 2016Health Officials Warn of Deadly Effects of Combining Marijuana and Tobacco
Health officials in St. Lucia warn that mixing marijuana and tobacco is causing a significant increase in the number of young people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The medical director of Victoria Hospital reports that that bed space is "severely compromised" because of the increased rates of this debilitating disease. Read more.

December 21, 2015With Marijuana Legalization There is More Marijuana Use and More Addiction While the Illegal Market Continues to Thrive
In a new IBH Commentary Robert L. DuPont, MD discusses the significant increase in self-reported marijuana use among adults over the past decade and the corresponding significant increase in the number of Americans with a marijuana use disorder. Establishing a legal market for marijuana has not eliminated the illegal market for marijuana in states with legalization. This is because the illegal market does not have to comply with regulations on growth and sale or pay taxes on sales or their profits. Because drug legalization enhances drug supply and reduces social disapproval of drugs, our nation must prepare itself for the negative consequences of increased marijuana use. Read more.

December 18, 2015Lessons From Pot Experiment
In an op-ed published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD is joined by former DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger and Hudson Institute trustee Linden Blue discussing the negative consequences of marijuana legalization in Colorado. They note three key facts: 1) the illegal market for marijuana persists; 2) a powerful new marijuana industry has emerged; and 3) alcohol use has not declined since marijuana legalization. "The citizens of Colorado are left with the disturbing consequence of their dangerous experiment." Read more.

December 15, 2015Monitoring the Future Reveals Mixed Outcomes of Youth Substance Use with Daily Marijuana Use Surpassing Daily Cigarette Use
The New York Times reviews the mixed results of the Monitoring the Future study of teen substance use. Among high school seniors, declines were seen in the use of prescription painkillers, alcohol and cigarettes. This is welcome news; however, for the first time ever, daily marijuana use exceeded daily cigarette use. This is in part due to an increase in daily marijuana use and a increase in e-cigarette use. Read more.

November 24, 2015Swedes Do Not Support Drug Legalization
Although drug legalization has become an international topic of debate, including in Sweden, 91% of Swedes think drugs should remain illegal. Sweden has a restrictive drug policy with strong emphasis on prevention that leverages the criminal justice system to increase assess to treatment. As a result, Sweden maintains one of the lowest drug use rates in Europe. The Institute for Behavior and Health strongly supports the Swedish model of drug policy; Sweden is the best example of how restrictive policy can be effective in reducing illegal drug use with broad and steady political support for linking treatment and the criminal justice system. Read more.

November 17, 2015Treatment Alone Won't Stop Heroin Epidemic
In Bloomberg View Sally L. Satel, MD explains that while there is bipartisan support for increasing access to treatment for drug-involved offenders, "referral to treatment alone is not enough". She explains that there is a role for the criminal justice system because it provides the leverage needed to hold individuals accountable. Both drug courts and HOPE Probation are effective strategies to engage offenders with substance use problems in treatment and succeed under community supervision, leading to decreases in incarceration and recidivism. Read more.

November 16, 2015The Mortality Study and Early Substance Abuse
New research shows that white Americans aged 45 to 55 are dying at significantly higher rates, particularly among those with high school education or less. David W. Murray of the Hudson Institute highlights the overlooked role of adolescent drug use suggesting that it may be the root cause. Specifically, this older population which has seen increases in illicit drug use, was likely a population that initiated drug use early in life. He argues that "higher mortality for the cohort seen between 1999-2013 was conditioned by the higher rates of substance abuse through which they passed as adolescents/young adults. This cannot be a definitive analysis, but it does seem important to ask more generally: does teen drug use shorten lives, particularly for the working class and the disadvantaged, the effect continued into later life?" Read more.

November 13, 2015Drug Cocktails are Fueling the Overdose Crisis
WBUR, Boston's NPR news station, examines the drug overdose problem in Massachusetts and the Boston area. Data from the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner show that while most overdoses in the state are heroin-related, the majority of deaths involve more than one drug. About 37 percent of overdose deaths in the first half of 2014 involved the opiate fentanyl. Among the drugs used in combination with heroin were cocaine, alcohol and benzodiazepines. Read more.

November 11, 2015Drug Addiction Recovery Often Starts with Coercion
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD weighed in on a New York Times debate about coerced treatment, noting that few addicts enter treatment without meaningful coercion in part because the vast majority of people with substance use disorders do not think they have a problem. Dr. DuPont highlights HOPE Probation and the physician health programs as two examples of effective coercion that overcome addiction in two very different populations. He notes the contrast between addicts while using drugs and alcohol compared to when they are drug-free. "In the process of recovery there is a transition from near-universal denial of problems and rejection of treatment to gratitude for and acceptance of the coercion that got them on that path." Read more.

October 26, 2015Obama Announces Steps to Combat Heroin and Opiate Addiction
President Obama released a plan to address the epidemic of addiction related to prescription painkillers and heroin. He called for an increased focus on training more physicians who can prescribe buprenorphine, curbing overprescribing, increasing data collection on overdoses, and expand access to Naloxone to reverse overdoses. As reported by The Washington Post, Obama said "We can't fight this epidemic without eliminating stigma. With no other disease do we wait until people are a danger to themselves or others...This is an illness, and we've got to treat it as such." Read more.

October 23, 2015Marijuana Use Up, Smoking Down, Among High School Students
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that while cigarette use among teens has declined dramatically over the last two decades, marijuana use has increased. Twice as many teens are smoking marijuana than did in 1997 and since 2010, more 12th graders have used marijuana than cigarettes. As researchers note, the "public health advances in adolescent health resulting from lower cigarette and cigar use might be attenuated by increases in marijuana use..." Read more. CDC Report.

October 21, 2015Increases in Adult Marijuana Use and Marijuana Addiction
Adult marijuana use more than doubled between 2001 and 2013, with 9.5% reporting past year use. Nearly 3 of every 10 of those adults has a marijuana-use disorder, totaling about 6.8 million Americans. Researchers caution that changes to laws and policies to legalize the recreational use of marijuana will likely increase the number of marijuana users and further, that as marijuana use increases, so will the number of people with problems related to their use increase, including marijuana use disorders. Read more.

October 2, 2015Heroin's Descent
The Harvard Gazette interviews leading experts in addiction research and treatment as part of a three-part report on the opioid overdose crisis. The dramatic increase in the availability and prescribing of opioids has brought nonmedical use to the forefront of drug problems in the US. Following efforts to limit their nonmedical use, many users are shifting to heroin which is vastly cheaper than prescription opioids and is widely available. The biology of addiction is discussed, including an important highlight that substance use disorders most often can be traced to initiation in adolescence when the human brain is not fully developed and is highly vulnerable. Read more.

September 16, 2015IBH Releases New Comprehensive Report on HOPE Probation and Hosts National Panel in Washington, DC
The Institute for Behavior and Health teamed with Judge Steven S. Alm Honolulu Probation Section Administrator Cheryl Inouye on a project to develop a comprehensive description of the HOPE strategy through a grant provided by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. HOPE is a strategy to effect positive behavioral change for those under court supervision. Focused on higher-risk offenders, jurisdictions in numerous states across the country have implemented the HOPE strategy in pretrial, probation, parole, and even prison settings. The resulting report from this project, State of the Art of HOPE Probation, serves as a tool for criminal justice practitioners interested in implementing the HOPE strategy. Additional materials from the project are available online. As part of the release of the project materials, IBH hosted a meeting of policy leaders in Washington, DC. The event was featured in a press release issued by the Hawaii State Judiciary.

July 22, 2015The Scariest Thing about Synthetic Drugs is Everything that's Unknown
The Washington Post reports on the increasing prevalence of synthetic drug use in the District of Columbia, with a sudden increase in the number of 911 calls and over eight times the number of emergency room visits for synthetic drugs than last year. Much about these substances is unknown, with formulations continually changing and some combined with other drugs including heroin and PCP. Eric Wish, PhD of the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland aptly said that synthetic drug users are "playing Russian roulette with their bodies." DC officials are now targeting businesses that sell synthetic drugs. Read more.

July 15, 2015Heroin Deaths Quadruple Across US
NBC News highlights dramatic findings from a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that heroin use and deaths have increased dramatically: "Heroin deaths nearly quadrupled in the decade between 2002 and 2013... Rates of abuse doubled among women and went up 50 percent among men during the same time period." Demographics of heroin users have changed, with many users transitioning from prescription painkillers to heroin, though poly-drug use remains an important risk factor for overdose deaths. New policies and practices, as well as education, are needed to curb this serious public health threat. Read more.

July 2, 2015National Forest Foundation Puts Spotlight on Illegal Marijuana Grows
An article form the National Forest Foundation entitled, "Pay No Attention to the Crime Behind the Emerald Curtain" highlights the serious problem of illegal marijuana growing operations in northern California's national forests. Only recently have conservation groups "begun to pull back this curtain to shed light on the reality of trespass grows - a growing environmental problem polluting our rivers, killing our wildlife and threatening at-risk species that are struggling for survival... The presence of trespass grows has risen like a slow tide, seeping through the forests and leaving, literally, tons and tons of garbage and poison behind." Read more.

July 1, 2015It's Time to Re-Think Prevention
The good news that underage drinking and binge drinking have declined reflects in part the changes taking place among young people in their decisions regarding substance use. In a new commentary from IBH, Robert L. DuPont, M.D. features new analysis of data from the Monitoring the Future survey showing that over the last few decades, the number of youth who choose to abstain from all substances, including alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs, has significantly increased. This finding has the potential to reshape all prevention strategies away from substance-specific health-promoting campaigns to a single focus that promotes no use by adolescents of any addicting substances. Read more.

June 30, 2015Colorado Supreme Court Provides a Moment of Sanity on Marijuana
The unanimous decision by the Colorado Supreme Court in Coats v. Dish Network ruled that an employer could fire an employee for testing positive for marijuana despite the legality of marijuana in that state. This case focuses on the conflict between Colorado's state marijuana laws which permit both "medical" and recreational marijuana, and the federal law, under which marijuana is an illicit substance. In this commentary, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. says that the Colorado Supreme Court got it right, affirming employers' rights to establish their own policies regarding drug use, including prohibiting marijuana use because the sale, use and production of marijuana, including use for medical purposes, remains illegal under federal law. Read more.

June 15, 2015Bertha Madras, PhD Presents the Science Behind Opposition to Marijuana Legalization
Harvard Medical School Professor of Psychobiology, Bertha Madras, PhD explains the science that shows the harmful effects of marijuana use, particularly among young people, providing a strong case against efforts to legalize marijuana. There is a serious lack of scientific evidence on the use of smoked marijuana as medicine, calling into question state-based initiatives advocating its use. Political leaders and parents must educate themselves and stand up against state-based marijuana initiatives that will make the drug more widely available. Watch the Interview. Read an article by Dr. Madras on a California court case that upheld the classification of marijuana as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act.

March 27, 2015While the US Zigs on Pot, the Netherlands Zag
For decades, the Netherlands has been known for its tolerant cannabis laws. It has been the poster nation for pro-pot advocates. This is not the case anymore. The Netherlands is moving in the opposite direction, limiting the growth, distribution, and use of cannabis, with strict regulations for "medical marijuana." Now, the US is the first, and so far the only, nation in the world to have fully legal production, sale, promotion, and use of cannabis for people 21 an older. Read more.

March 26, 2015Marijuana Edibles Blamed for Death in Keystone, Colorado
A 23 year-old man with no history of mental illness tragically committed suicide after the ingestion of marijuana edibles in Keystone, Colorado while on a trip with his family and friends. Several hours after consuming the THC edibles, the man became incoherent and subsequently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This is the third case in Colorado linking the consumption of marijuana edibles to deaths. Read more.

March 25, 2015"Clearing the Haze" - The Gazette Takes an In-Depth Look at Colorado's Experiment with Legal Marijuana
A four-day editorial series investigates the problems of marijuana legalization in the state of Colorado, examining the following key topics: marijuana regulation; marijuana and crime; youthful addiction; and medical marijuana. Read more.

March 4, 2015Marijuana is Addictive
Substance use disorders, as defined in the DSM-V, are the negative consequences produced by the use of specific substances such as alcohol and cocaine. When this criterion is applied to marijuana use, there is a substantial amount of dependence resulting from the use of marijuana (a.k.a., marijuana addiction). In 2013 over 60 percent of all Americans 12 and older with dependence on any drug other than alcohol were dependent on marijuana. That is more than any other drug. Read more.

February 2, 2015Mexican opium farmers expand plots to supply US heroin boom
Mexican farmers are feeding a growing addiction in the U.S., where heroin use has spread from back alleys to the cul-de-sacs of suburbia. The heroin trade is a losing prospect for everyone except the Mexican cartels, who have found a new way to make money in the face of falling cocaine consumption and marijuana legalization in the United States. Once smaller-scale producers of low-grade black tar, Mexican drug traffickers are now refining opium paste into high-grade white heroin and flooding the world's largest market for illegal drugs, using the distribution routes they built for marijuana and cocaine. Read more.

January 23, 2015NIDA Reports Teen Prescription Opioid Abuse Declining
Misuse and abuse of prescription pain relievers among U.S. teenagers, which has been trending down over the past several years, dropped again from 2012 to 2013, according to survey data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Read more.

January 15, 20152013 Drug Overdose Mortality Data Announced
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced data released from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that while drug deaths related to prescription opioids have been stable since 2012, the mortality rate associated with heroin has increased for the third straight year. Both ONDCP and the CDC place emphasis on curbing prescription drug abuse in efforts to reduce heroin deaths. CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said that "Most people who use heroin in the US today used prescription opioids first. Reducing inappropriate prescribing will prevent overdose from prescription opioids and heroin." Read more.

December 17, 2014IBH Commentary on Vaping
"Vaping" has become a revitalized form of inhaling marijuana. The popular support and lack of scientific evidence has led vaping to be considered the "safe" way of administering marijuana for the common user. In a commentary from the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. Robert L. DuPont, MD presents a brief synopsis of the potential dangers of vaping THC and the misconceptions about it. Read more.

December 16, 2014Cannabis-Related ED Visits Rise in States With Legalized Use
A retrospective study showed that emergency department (ED) visits with cannabis use grew 50.4% between 2007 and 2012 in Colorado, one of the first two states to legalize both medical and recreational use of marijuana. A sampling of random states where marijuana is only legal for medical use also showed high increases in cannabis-related ED visits during the same period. The largest increase was found in Hawaii with 55%.Read more.

November 10, 2014Seattle researchers design app to identify health behaviors in teens
When sitting across a doctor it can be awkward for a teen to discuss sex, drugs and alcohol, so Seattle researchers have developed an electronic health assessment app to ask some of these tough questions while in the waiting room, before the start of the appointment. The app provides direct, personalized feedback to teens based on their responses. The information was designed to increase their knowledge of the effects of health compromising behaviors and hopefully motivate them to engage in healthier ones. Read more.

November 10, 2014Regular pot smokers have shrunken brains, study says
Compared with a person who never smoked marijuana, someone who uses marijuana regularly has, on average, less gray matter in his orbital frontal cortex, a region that is a key node in the brain's reward, motivation, decision-making and addictive behaviors network.Researchers noted that the IQ of the marijuana-using group was significantly lower than that of the non-using group. Read more.

November 5, 2014Next up for pot legalization: Calif., Vermont, Ariz.?
Twenty-three states already permit medical marijuana use. Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., have joined Colorado and Washington state in legalizing recreational pot possession and use.This year's election confirmed that voters just aren't falling for the scare tactics that have been used for decades to keep marijuana illegal. More states are moving forward with a new, more sensible approach to marijuana policy, and it's really just a question of how quickly the rest will follow. Read more.

October 30, 2014Kennedy: Are We Ready For Big Tobacco-Style Marketing For Marijuana?
There's a lot conversation about the perks of legalizing Marijuana, such as taxes and medicinal. However, an element that is not widely talked about is the marketing of the product. The marketing for the support of marijuana and the now-legal businesses will have a detrimental effect on our kids. Legalizing and marketing marijuana is making drug use acceptable and mainstream. Just as Big Tobacco lied to Americans for decades about the deadly consequences of smoking, we can't let "big marijuana" follow in its footsteps, target our kids and profit from addiction. Read more.

October 29, 2014This is Your Brain on Drugs
Researchers at Harvard and Northwestern University were reviewing composite scans of the brains of 20 pot smokers, ages 18 to 25. What they found within those scans surprised them. Even in the seven participants who smoked only once or twice a week, there was evidence of structural differences in two significant regions of the brain. The more the subjects smoked, the greater the differences. All smokers showed abnormalities in the shape, density and volume of the nucleus accumbens, which is at the core of motivation, the core of pleasure and pain, and the core of every decision a person makes. Read more.

October 29, 2014Colorado Voters Turning Against Marijuana Legalization
A Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds that now only 46% of likely voters support Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment legalizing and commercializing marijuana. 50% of likely voters oppose the measure entirely. Colorado has discovered that the theory of legalization is much prettier than the reality. Legalization in Colorado, specifically edibles, has led to a rise in poison center calls and emergency room admissions. Read more.

October 23, 2014Marijuana Advertising and the Power of Conditioning
The legalization of recreational marijuana use has opened doors for advertising the pleasures of drug use. Ads associating marijuana use with pleasure not only generate new customers, but also entice current users to use more. We have seen the harmful effects that alcohol and tobacco ads have had, especially on youths. Therefore it is important that states consider the lessons learned from tobacco and alcohol policy research and restrict marijuana advertising to reduce the development of newly addicted individuals and avoid inducing relapse in people who are already addicted. Read more.

October 22, 2014Pot legalization: What one Hazelden addiction specialist thinks you ought to know
As Oregonians decide the outcome of cannabis legalization, one doctor spoke out summarizing the scientific facts regarding cannabanoid effects on the brain including addiction, harmful brain development, and dramatic increase in developing significant psychiatric illness. While some argue for legalization for tax revenue purposes, the public health impact will never be offset by tax revenue. Read more.

October 22, 2014My Turn: Scientists who know say 'no' to legal pot
On November 4th Alaska will vote on the legalization of marijuana. According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study, the popular notion seems to be that marijuana is a harmless pleasure, access to which should not be regulated or considered illegal. However, the realities contradict. The evidence clearly indicates that long term marijuana usage can lead to addiction. Marijuana use impairs critical cognitive functions for days after use; so many students could be functioning at a cognitive level that is below their natural capability for considerable period of times. The evidence that marijuana is harmful for non-medical use is growing. That should give Alaskans pause as they enter the voting booth. Read more.

October 22, 2014Dual DUI Task Force
California Police departments team up to start a new Avoid the 2 DUI Task Force. The 2 stands for drunk and drugged driving, which accounted for 802 deaths statewide. Read more.

October 22, 2014Ontario to bring in stronger punishment for driving under influence of drugs
Ontario is strengthening their drugged driving laws. The punishment for driving under the influence of drugs will be matched to those already in place for driving under the influence of alcohol. Read more.

September 25, 2014World Federation Against Drugs Releases Statement on Global Commission Report
The World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) released a statement in response to the latest report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy which called for experiments in legalization of drugs including cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Unlike the Global Commission, WFAD "recognizes that the fundamental goal of drug policy is to reduce the nonmedical use of drugs of abuse because nonmedical use of these drugs is harmful, and often fatal, to drug users and for society as a whole. Sound drug policies must be affordable, practical and consistent with contemporary values. The legalization of currently illegal drugs for nonmedical use will increase their use, and thus drug legalization is inconsistent with the public health goal of reducing drug use." Read more. WFAD Statement.

September 24, 2014Like Big Tobacco, Big Marijuana will Drive Addiction
Kevin Sabet, PhD, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, brings to light the implications of marijuana legalization, including the beginning of a new Big Marijuana industry modeled on Big Tobacco. As Dr. Sabet notes, "addictive industries generate the lion's share of their profits from addicts, not casual users. In the tobacco industry, 80 percent of the industry's profits come from 20 percent of smokers... the brunt of the profits - and problems - come from the minority of users...This means that creating addicts is the central goal. And - as every good tobacco executive knows (but won't tell you) - this, in turn, means targeting the young." Read more.

September 23, 2014Daily Marijuana Use at Highest Rate Among College Students Since 1981
Join Together at The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids highlights important findings from the Monitoring the Future study showing that 5.1 percent of college students are daily or near-daily marijuana users. Rates of past year and past month marijuana use have increased significantly from 2006. Read more.

September 22, 2014The US Imprison Rate Has Fallen for the Fifth Straight Year
Keith Humprheys describes in an article in The Washington Post the reasons why the incarceration rate in the United States has declined and in 2013 reached a 10-year low. One of the important reasons for this decline is the development and implementation of innovative criminal justice programs that focus on reducing substance abuse, recidivism and incarceration among individuals under community supervision. Humphreys highlights Drug Courts, 24/7 Sobriety and HOPE Probation among these remarkable programs. Read more.

September 19, 2014DC Voters Should Reject the Rush to Legalize Marijuana
The editorial board of The Washington Post warns its readers that the District of Columbia should not support marijuana legalization. Marijuana is not harmless, and has serious consequences particularly for youth. As the board points out, the experience of Colorado with marijuana legalization has demonstrated many serious negative consequences "including increased instances of impaired driving and increased use by youth." Read more.

September 11, 2014Teen Daily Marijuana Smokers 60% Less Likely to Complete High School
Important new data from longitudinal studies in Australia and New Zealand show that "teenagers who smoke marijuana daily are over 60% less likely to complete high school than those who never use"; moreover, they are also "60% less likely to graduate college and seven times more likely to attempt suicide." A study author noted that there is no threshold for young people for which marijuana use is safe. Read the abstract.

September 8, 2014Daily Marijuana Use Among College Students at Three-Decade High
New data from the Monitoring the Future study shows that illicit drug use among college students has been rising since 2006. In 2013, 39% of college students reporting using an illicit drug in the past year. The most common drug used by this population is marijuana; over one third (36%) of college students reported past year marijuana use. Daily or near-daily marijuana use has risen to 5.1%, equal to use by one in 20 college students. Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator explained that this is the highest rate of daily marijuana use by this population since 1981. Read more.

August 25, 2014Innovative New Paradigm Criminal Justice Programs Featured at Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation hosted Judge Steven S. Alm, creator of HOPE Probation in Hawaii, Judge Larry Long, creator of 24/7 Sobriety in South Dakota, and IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. to discuss these innovative criminal justice programs that reduce substance use, reduce recidivism and reduce incarceration. Led by Paul Larkin, Senior Legal Research Fellow, this panel discussion explored the effectiveness of these programs which are a part of New Paradigm and is widely applicable within community corrections. Watch the Event.

August 22, 2014The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado - The Impact
A report released by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) reviews available data on the impact of marijuana legalization for medical and recreational use in Colorado. Areas examined include impaired driving, youth and adult marijuana use, emergency room admissions, marijuana-related exposure cases, treatment, and diversion of Colorado outside the state. The report demonstrates that the legal marijuana market in Colorado has impacted all of these areas. Read more.

August 08, 2014Creating a New Standard for Addiction Treatment Outcomes
A new report from the Institute for Behavior and Health recognizes the mismatch of episodes of treatment, which are generally brief, and the lifelong nature of substance use disorders. The report discusses the value of using five-year abstinence and recovery as a treatment outcome measure. Such a measure would encourage addiction treatment programs and clinicians to make recovery the expected outcome of treatment. The report briefly reviews the definition of "recovery", reviews the evidence that supports the proposition that long-term recovery can be the expected outcome of substance use disorder treatment, and discusses alternate methods that could be used to collect five-year abstinence and recovery outcome data. Read more.

August 06, 2014New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery
An article published by Join Together of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids focuses on the New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery and features IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. As the article notes, the New Paradigm is a "system of care management for substance use disorders that enhances and extends the benefits of all treatment programs." Based on the framework of the physician health program (PHP), the New Paradigm uses long-term monitoring including the use of frequent random drug testing, and immediate, known consequences and interventions in response to any relapse. The New Paradigm has extended from PHPs to innovative programs in the criminal justice system and to private treatment programs yielding impressive results. Read more. The New Paradigm for Recovery Report.

July 31, 2014Letter to the Editor Against Marijuana Legalization
The New York Times has advocated the reckless addition of a third drug, marijuana, to the two drugs (alcohol and tobacco) currently legal for adults. The leading published letter to the editor by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD and Peter Bensinger, Former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana. As Bensinger and DuPont state, "We cannot ignore the negative effects that legalization would have on under-age use and addiction, highway safety, treatment costs, mental health problems, emergency room admissions, workplace accidents and productivity, and personal health." Read more.

July 30, 2014Office of National Drug Control Policy Issues Response to New York Times Editorial Board's Call for Federal Marijuana Legalization
In a statement issued in response to The New York Times editorial board's call for marijuana legalization, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) states that "the editorial team failed to mention a cascade of public health problems associated with increased availability of marijuana." It stresses that any discussion of marijuana "should be guided by science and evidence, not ideology and wishful thinking. The Obama Administration continues to oppose legalization of marijuana and other illegal drugs because it flies in the face of a public health approach to reducing drug use and its consequences." Read more.

July 28, 2014Legalizing Pot Endangers Children
In an article in USA Today Former Congressman and Project SAM co-founder Patrick Kennedy addresses the fundamental concerns about the impact of marijuana legalization on children and adolescents. Marijuana legalization introduces a "heavily commercialized drug industry" that directly targets kids. He states, "Our country cannot afford another industry that glamorously commercializes addictive drugs, profits from harming people - especially children - and expects the rest of us to pick up the tab for users' health care and all of the social problems they cause. For every $1 we collect from state and federal taxes on alcohol and tobacco, we spend $10 to address problems stemming from their use. There is no reason to believe marijuana will pay for itself, either." Read more.

July 23, 2014The Changing State of Drug Policy
In a new commentary IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. discusses the changing state of drug policy. While the biology of addiction has not changed, drug use has changed dramatically over the past half century. Marijuana has been transformed both in potency and delivery in the time since the peak of its use in the US in 1978. The addiction landscape has also changed as a result of the nonmedical use of legal prescription drugs. The drug epidemic continues to evolve in complex ways even as the public attitudes toward the use of drugs are shifting. The US - and the world - is at a crossroads in drug policy today with two oppositional perspectives on the future of drug policy. Dr. DuPont emphasizes the need to develop innovative policies and programs that reduce the use of drugs of abuse and while providing assistance, including quality treatment that achieves long-term recovery, to those with substance use disorders. Read more.

July 10, 2014Colorado's troubles with pot
Kevin Sabet, director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and author of "Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana" points out the problems with pot legalization in a CNN article. Two main points are that kids will be harmed by this legalization and pot users have higher risks of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses. He also states that since marijuana is widely promoted in Colorado, calls to poison centers have increased as well as incidents involving kids bringing marijuana infused goods to school. Sabet says, "Employers are reporting more workplace incidents involving marijuana use, and deaths have been attributed to ingesting marijuana cookies and food items." Read more.

June 24, 2014The myths of smoking pot
Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Addiction voices her opinion on marijuana legalization in an interview on the National Institutes of Health campus. She is quoted in an article from The Washington Post, "I think that what we are seeing is a little bit of wishful thinking in the sense that we want to have a drug that will make us all feel good and believe that there are no harmful consequences." She explains the trouble and consequences that are involved with tobacco and alcohol. Volkow implies that we cannot afford to have a third legal drug. Read more.

June 11, 2014Definitive Summary of Adverse Effects of Marijuana
A definitive, comprehensive review of the current state of scientific knowledge on marijuana written by the nation's leading drug scientists has recently been published by the premier medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine. This article is of historic importance and of great relevance for the current national debate over marijuana policy. Hopefully it will be useful in stemming the tide of a growing public misconception that marijuana is not an addictive drug and that marijuana use is not harmful. It is imperative that this summary of knowledge be shared widely and that specifically it be used to inform policy in the interest of public health and safety. In an IBH Commentary, Robert L. DuPont, MD presents a brief synopsis of the findings from Volkow, et al. (2014) as well as a policy context for these findings. Read more.

May 31, 2014Problems in Colorado Following Marijuana Legalization
An article from the New York Times describes the many problems reported in Colorado following the commercialization of marijuana. Edible marijuana products sold in marijuana shops in Colorado have been linked to a number of recent violent incidents and have led to an increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room admissions. In addition to problems within the state, sheriffs from neighboring states describe an increase in the number of stoned drivers leaving Colorado and traveling through their towns putting others at risk. The problems stemming from marijuana legalization in Colorado provides cautionary lessons for the nation. As Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana stated, "We've seen lives damaged. We've seen deaths directly attributed to marijuana legalization. We've seen marijuana slipping through Colorado's borders. We've seen marijuana getting into the hands of kids." Read more.

May 16, 2014Ways to Accurately Cover Marijuana Policy Issues in the Media
In a op-ed featured on Huffington Post, Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D. of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) offers five clear ways to accurately cover marijuana policy issues in the media. Among the key points he stresses: marijuana legalization is not inevitable; and Big Marijuana is a growing industry that deserves scrutiny. Dr. Sabet brings much-needed perspective to current marijuana policy discussions, most of which overlook the serious public health and safety implications of marijuana legalization. Read more.

May 13, 2014Marijuana Legalization and Young Brains
The nation is gambling with the mental health of younger generations by easing restriction of marijuana without a complete understanding of the impact this drug has on adolescents' developing brains. In two editorials, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. and Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., President of the American Psychiatric Association, call for serious study of the impact of marijuana (and other drugs) on the brain. Psychiatry News. Science Magazine.

May 12, 2014Legalizing Marijuana Could Harm Adolescents
In a public policy statement the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) opposes the legalization of marijuana for any purpose. AACAP recognizes the serious adverse effects of marijuana on the developing adolescent brain. In addition to opposing marijuana legalization, AAAP supports efforts to educate the public about the drug's impact on adolescents, improve access to treatment for marijuana use disorders and evaluation of the effects of marijuana policy changes on child and adolescent health. Read more.

May 5, 2014Meet the White House Drug Czar
In a new video piece by USA Today the public meets Michael Botticelli, the Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Prior to joining ONDCP, he served as Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As someone in long-term recovery he has brought tremendous experience and knowledge to the position. Mr. Botticelli has widely promoted community-based recovery support centers to help individuals in and seeking to achieve recovery. Watch here.

April 16, 2014Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities
Nothwestern University and Harvard University work together on a study that is among the first to focus on possible brain effects in recreational pot smokers. 20 pot users in the study, who were aged 18-25, reported to smoke marijuana about four days a week on average. The researchers scanned their brains and compared the results to 20 non-users who were matched for age, sex and other traits. The major differences showed up in two brain areas associated with emotion and motivation (amygdala and the nucleus accumbens). The pot users showed higher density than the non-users. Read more.

April 16, 2014Doctors, Medical Staff on Drugs Put Patients At Risk
A headlining article in USA Today focuses on the problem of prescription drug abuse among an estimated 100,000 health care workers today. Prescription drug abuse, and in particular, the nonmedical use of opioid analgesics or pain relievers, puts patients (as well as users) at serious risk. This review shows that diversion of prescription drugs and their misuse is pervasive, easily hidden and poorly policed. Read more.

April 14, 2014Drug Dealers Aren't to Blame for the Heroin Boom. Doctors Are.
An in-depth article in The New Republic investigates the relationship between the problem of prescription opiate abuse and the growing heroin epidemic. "About four in five new heroin addicts report that they got addicted to prescription pills before they ever took heroin." The widespread prescribing of opiates has made these drugs of abuse more available. For individuals that abuse opiates, heroin becomes a cheaper alternative. Read more.

March 26, 2014Stephen Talpins Named 2014 ONDCP Advocate for Action
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has named Stephen K. Talpins as one of the 2014 Advocates for Action. These Advocates are individuals who are doing extraordinary things to improve the health and safety of their communities. Mr. Talpins is a practicing attorney and serves as Vice President of the Institute for Behavior and Health. He is a national leader on drugged driving issues, working to prevent drugged driving and its public health and safety consequences. Read more.

March 25, 2014American Society of Addiction Medicine Drug Testing White Paper
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a white paper that reviews the science and current practice of drug testing. IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD served as Chair of the Writing Committee that developed the White Paper. This important document promotes the use of drug testing as a primary prevention, diagnostic and monitoring tool in the management of addiction or drug misuse in medical practice. White Paper. Interview with Dr. DuPont.

March 11, 2014Drug Testing is 'the Technology of Addiction' - ASAM White Paper
In the fall of 2013, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released Drug Testing: A White Paper, authored by a writing committee chaired by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. A new article in Behavioral Healthcare reviews the ASAM White Paper which discusses drug testing as a critical tool in the identification, treatment and management of substance use disorders. Read more.

March 10, 2014Drug Courts are Smart on Crime
An article in MinnPost reviews how the Minnesota Drug Court system is achieving reductions in recidivism and reconviction rates while at the same time producing higher rates of treatment program completion, sobriety and employment among criminal offenders with serious substance use problems. The small, focused and team-oriented approach of Drug Courts focuses on helping repeat felony drug offenders break the cycle. Read more. To learn more about Drug Courts visit the website of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

January 28, 2014AAPS Blog: Drugs Wreaking Havoc on Our Roads
As guest bloggers for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. and distinguished University of Florida Professor Mark S. Gold, M.D. highlight the role of drugs in impaired driving today. When used alone or in combination, including with alcohol, drug use puts drivers and others at serious risk. Reducing drugged driving is a national priority that will require public education and effective enforcement. There are no blood impairment thresholds for drugs, including marijuana, calling into question the recent legal changes for marijuana-impaired driving in the two states that have legalized marijuana use for adults. Authors stress the clear message "Don't Use Drugs and Drive." Read more.

January 21, 2014IBH President on Bill Bennett's Morning Show to Discuss Marijuana Legalization
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. was a guest on the Bill Bennett's Morning in America talk show to discuss marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Today, half of Americans aged 12 and older have used alcohol in the past 30 days, while only 7% have used marijuana. The legalization of marijuana will greatly increase the number of marijuana users and the negative consequences of that use. The creation of a new commercial marijuana industry will work hard against efforts to limit marijuana use and sale. Listen to the Program.

January 17, 2014Former ONDCP Director William Bennett on Marijuana Legalization
CNN contributor and former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy William Bennett addresses the common misconception that marijuana is harmless and notes that "the country can ill-afford a costly experiment with drugs" as is now underway in Colorado and Washington with marijuana legalization. The public needs education. He notes that musician Lady Gaga recently admitted she was addicted to marijuana and is working to educate fans saying, "I just want young kids to know that you actually can become addicted to it, and there's this sentiment that you can't and that's not actually true." Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. and its legalization poses significant risks to our communities and specifically youth. Read more.

January 10, 2014Let's Not Kid Ourselves About Marijuana
In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, a child psychiatrist and founder of the substance abuse treatment and prevention organization Phoenix House, examines the implications of marijuana legalization on adolescents. He notes that legalization normalizes marijuana use and availability will increase. The brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s, putting adolescents at high risk of serious negative effects of marijuana use, including impairments to learning, judgment and memory. Read more.

December 18, 2013Marijuana Use Among Teens Increases
As The New York Times reports, the rate of marijuana use by teens in the United States has been increasing in recent years. The Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey has clearly shown that as perceived risk of harm from a drug decreases, the use of that drug increases. The latest MTF report shows that perceived risk of harm of regular marijuana use has continued to decline sharply. In 2013, 40% of high school seniors perceived great risk from regular marijuana use, down from 58% in 2012. Similar sharp declines were seen among 8th and 10th graders. These changes signal likely future rises in teen marijuana use, increasing concerns about the impact of marijuana on the developing adolescent brain. Read more. 2013 MTF Data Summary.

December 16, 2013IBH President Weighs in on Drug Legalization Efforts
The Mark News published an op-ed by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. about the widespread promotion of drug legalization by the pro-drug lobby and its applause for Uruguay's recent move to legalize marijuana. Today alcohol and tobacco, two legal drugs, produce dramatic social costs. Legalizing marijuana, or any other illegal drug, poses a significant threat to public health and safety. Drug legalization will not reduce the toll of illegal drug use. Read more.

December 1, 2013National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
President Barack Obama released a proclamation declaring December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. In it he stated, "Impaired drivers are involved in nearly one-third of all deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the United States, taking almost 30 lives each day. This is unacceptable. My Administration is committed to raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, improving screening methods, and ensuring law enforcement has the tools and training to decrease drunk and drugged driving." At the same time, Canada Safety Council is using its National Safe Driving Week through December 7, 2013 to raise awareness on the public safety problem of drugged driving. Read more.

November 20, 2013US Needs to Follow Sweden's Lead in Drug Policy
In an article published by DrugNews, based in Sweden, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD, Bertha Madras, PhD, and Per Johansson call on Sweden to provide leadership on drug policy in the world. As the authors state, "the Swedish experience over the past five decades proves that it is possible to have a restrictive drug policy that is compassionate, effective and affordable." Read more.

November 7, 2013Neil McKeganey: "Legal" Highs a Low Point
The Scotsman featured an important article by Neil McKeganey, Ph.D. about the prevalence and use of dangerous novel psychoactive substances in the United Kingdom. These drugs are largely manufactured and exported by China. Dr. McKeganey also reviews the enforcement strategies taken by various European countries to reduce their supply. He reports that the UK government has no intention of banning headshops where these "legal" highs are sold. He adds "the UK government response effectively leaves young people as the guinea pigs in their own national experiment; only when the hospital admission statistics start to mount up will the government take action. That is a shocking abrogation of responsibility." Without intervention he anticipates the use of these drugs and related deaths to rise. Read more.

November 1, 2013Leveraging Justice System to Reduce Drug Use
The San Diego Union Tribune features a commentary by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. in which he states that rather than legalizing drugs, beginning with marijuana, "the goal of drug policy reform should be to reduce imprisonment and reduce drug use by addicted prisoners while also reducing criminal recidivism." He discusses innovative programs that serve as models and achieve these goals by leveraging the criminal justice system, including Drug Courts and HOPE Probation. Read more.

October 31, 2013Marijuana Legalization and Federal Law - A Missed Opportunity
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. authored a commentary published in the latest issue of the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, entitled "Marijuana Legalization and Federal Law: A Missed Opportunity." The state-based legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington is a direct violation of federal law. The Department of Justice has taken action against other state laws that conflict with federal law but has not provided the leadership needed on this important issue. The legalization of any drug, including marijuana, should only be achieved through legislative action at the federal level and not ballot initiatives. A new comprehensive drug policy is needed, one that is focused on reducing drug use through balanced, restrictive policies that lower incarceration rates. Read more. Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice

October 30, 2013IBH President Discusses the Substance-Use Dropout Connection on Shatterproof Blog
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. is featured on the blog of Shatterproof, an organization leading a new movement to "decisively tackle the disease of addiction to alcohol and drugs and bridge the enormous gap in addiction resources." Dr. DuPont explains the findings of the groundbreaking IBH report America's Dropout Crisis: The Unrecognized Connection to Adolescent Substance Use which documented that substance use both causes and is caused by academic failure and dropout in high school and college. Read more.

October 29, 2013IBH President Discusses Drugged Driving with Highway to Safety's David Wallace
David Wallace, the Traffic Safety Guy, is the leader behind Highway to Safety, a new podcast about traffic safety. In developing a forthcoming podcast on drugged driving, Mr. Wallace interviewed IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. Watch the interview. Listen to the podcast, Drugged Driving: What is it and What Can We Do About It?

September 30, 2013Drivers Positive for Drugs Have Triple the Risk of Fatal Crash
A new study published in Accident Analysis and Prevention which used data from the 2007 National Roadside Survey and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that drivers positive for at least one drug (excluding alcohol) were three times more likely than drivers negative for drug use to be involved in a fatal crash. The combination of drug use and alcohol substantially increased crash risk. Health Day reports, "Compared to drivers who tested negative for alcohol and drugs, the risk of being in a fatal crash was more than twice as high for those who were drug-positive but alcohol-negative, more than 13 times higher for those who were alcohol-positive but drug-negative, and 23 times higher for those who tested positive for both alcohol and drugs." This study provides new evidence of the serious risk drugged driving poses to public safety. Read more.

September 16, 2013Over One Quarter of High School Seniors Drive After Using Alcohol or Drugs, or Ride With Driver Who Has
New data from the Monitoring the Future Survey show that nationally, 28% of American high school seniors report driving a car after using alcohol or drugs or riding in a car with someone who has. Overall, the prevalence of this behavior has decreased since 2001. However, while driving after drinking alcohol has decreased, in the last three survey years, driving after marijuana use has increased. In 2011, 12% of seniors reporting driving after marijuana use. Researchers conclude that "stronger efforts are needed to combat adolescent driving under the influence of illicit drugs" with particular attention to marijuana. Read more. Article.

September 6, 2013Big Myths about Marijuana and Legalization
In an op-ed published in The Christian Science Monitor, Kevin Sabet, Ph.D. confronts seven myths about marijuana and legalization of the drug. He addresses, among other issues, the harmfulness of marijuana, marijuana as "medicine", the role of marijuana in the criminal justice system, and the social costs of legalization. Read more.

September 5, 2013Marijuana Legalization Wrong Way to End War on Drugs
In an editorial published in U-T San Diego, IBH President Robert L. DuPont discusses the anticipated negative consequences of marijuana legalization, including increased drug use, addiction and related social costs. The growing body of scientific evidence about the harmful effects of marijuana use are often ignored. Of particular concern is heavy marijuana use in the teenage years. As he states, "the solution to the modern drug epidemic is not to surrender by legalizing marijuana or other drugs...Reducing the demand for illegal drugs will improve public health and safety and reduce drug trafficking and the related violence." Read more.

September 4, 2013Stop the Marijuana Lobby
In an op-ed published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ed Gogek, M.D. discusses the influence of the marijuana lobby on state legislators and legislation. "Medical" marijuana laws and marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington are in direct conflict with federal law. As Dr. Gogek notes, the marijuana lobby built its successful campaign on falsehoods that are routinely repeated by politicians. Dr. Gogek presents clear facts about marijuana, confronting the misinformation fed to the public by the marijuana lobby. Read more. Read Dr. Gogek's blog, The Case Against Marijuana.

August 9, 2013ER Visits Related to Prescription Stimulants Quadrupled in Six Years
The New York Times reported that the number of emergency room admissions of young adults related to the misuse or abuse of prescription stimulants quadrupled from 2005 to 2011. In that six-year timeframe, the number of such ER visits among people ages 18 to 34 jumped from 5,600 to 23,000. The prescription drugs responsible for admissions were primarily central nervous system stimulants used to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and to block sleepiness. Read more. Report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

July 22, 2013Teen Marijuana Use and Implications of Marijuana Legalization
A new issue of the CESAR Fax summarizes important findings from a recent survey of high school students in grades 9 through 12 about their use of and attitudes toward drug use. A total of 65% of teens who have used marijuana in their lifetime reported that marijuana legalization would make them more likely to use it. Moreover, 78% of heavy marijuana users reported that they would likely increase their marijuana use under legalization. Read more.

July 2, 2013Pot-Smoking and the Schizophrenia Connection
In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal Dr. Samuel T. Wilkinson, resident physician in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, discusses the link between early marijuana use and schizophrenia and other mental illness. This connection is overlooked in the drug policy debate regarding legalizing marijuana. Dr. Wilkinson states that as a nation we owe it to the individuals with schizophrenia, a vulnerable population, "and to society in general, to consider all the facts, risks and potential benefits before we embark on this drastic social experiment" of marijuana legalization. Read more.

June 21, 2013Examining the Federal Government's Response to the Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis
The Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health of U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the government's response to the nation's prescription drug abuse epidemic. Testimony was given by Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Doug Throckmorton of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drugs Evaluation and Research, Dr. Westley Clark of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. In their testimonies, these witnesses discussed, among other topics, the prevalence of prescription drug abuse, state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), the importance of education and prevention, and the development of abuse-resistant formulations. Read more.

June 11, 2013The Role of Marijuana on College Failure
The University of Maryland School of Public Health released a report tracking 1,200 college freshman over ten years, showing that "substance use, and 'especially marijuana use' contributed to 'college students skipping more classes, spending less time studying, earning lower grades, dropping out of college, and being unemployed after college.' It adds that early chronic use can lower your IQ as many as eight points." Over 40% of chronic heavy marijuana users had discontinuous college enrollment; that is, no longer enrolled for at least one semester. This was dramatically higher than students whose marijuana use was minimal (25%). Read more. Full Report.

June 10, 2013Marijuana Use is a Serious Highway Safety Threat: 5 ng/ml Marijuana Impairment Limits Give Drivers a Free Pass to Drive Stoned
After the passage marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado, there is a renewed interest in developing a marijuana impairment limit for drivers, similar to the 0.08 g/dl blood alcohol concentration limit used across the United States. The science on this issue is clear: it is not possible to identify a valid impairment standard for marijuana or any other drug equivalent to the 0.08 g/dl limit for alcohol. Washington now has a 5 ng/ml THC limit for drivers age 21 and older which will give the large majority of marijuana-impaired drivers a free pass to drive stoned. Worse yet, Colorado passed a 5 ng/ml THC permissible inference law, now the weakest drugged driving law in the country. IBH promotes the use of zero tolerance per se limits for marijuana. This has been the standard for safety-sensitive roles for decades and is supported by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Read more.

May 24, 2013We Save Lives Launches
We Save Lives (WSL) is the collective voice representing the public and private sectors concerned with drunk, drugged and distracted driving and their immediate and deadly threat on our highways. WSL includes a media center, legislation hub, personal stories and a blog of the ongoing work related to these highway safety threats. Read more.

May 23, 2013Marijuana Use More Prevalent in States with "Medical Marijuana" Laws
A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows that rates of marijuana use, marijuana abuse and marijuana dependence are higher in states with medical marijuana. Authors call for more research to determine whether the association is causal or due to an underlying common cause. Read more.

May 22, 2013Top 10 Things to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels in the United States, with deadly consequences. Drug overdoses now kill more Americans thank motor vehicle crashes. PBS features the top 10 things to know about prescription drug abuse from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more.

May 17, 2013"Psychedelic Medicine" - The Next Frontier in Drug Legalization
The pro-drug lobby has recently expanded its ambitious agenda from simply legalizing marijuana to legalizing psychedelic drugs. The template for this campaign has been taken from its successful promotion of state marijuana initiatives over the past two decades, starting with legal medical use and, once that was successful, pivoting quickly to full legalization. This model is now being used for psychedelic drugs. Like marijuana, psychedelic drugs first are being promoted for "medical" use and then no doubt will be promoted for personal use. The policy path of marijuana that psychedelic drugs now are tracing reveals a hidden. agenda with a probable intent to legalize all currently illegal drugs. Read more.

May 3, 2013Nearly One Quarter of Teens Drive While Impaired
A survey of 11th and 12th grade students in the United States conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that nearly one quarter of teens admit to driving under the influence of marijuana, prescription drugs or alcohol. Remarkably 41% of teens believe that marijuana has no impact on driving and 34% believe marijuana use actually improves driving; only 25% believe marijuana use makes you a worse driver. By comparison, the majority of teens (62%) report that alcohol worsens driving. These startling results have serious implications for road safety as motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people. Read more.

April 22, 2013Recognizing the Contribution of Adolescent Substance Use to Poor Academic Performance
Join Together and Partnership at published a new commentary by Amelia Arria, Ph.D. and IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. about the under-recognized contribution of adolescent substance use to poor academic performance. As authors note, "because of the critical role parents play both in preventing substance use and promoting academic success, they need to know what they can do to prevent use in the first place, and intervene if their child has a drug or alcohol problem. Once use occurs, an entire constellation of change agents may be needed to solve the problem." Read more.

April 18, 2013IBH Study Shows Effectiveness of Random Student Drug Testing
A study conducted by the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. and published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse shows students in schools with random student drug testing (RSDT) programs who knew they were subject to random testing and expected to be tested in the coming school year reported significantly less marijuana and other illegal drug use than students who knew they were not subject to testing. Tested and Not Tested students did not differ in reported alcohol use, quite possibly because schools did not include alcohol on testing panels. The study also provides evidence that students subject to testing have more positive attitudes towards testing and their school's drug and alcohol policies than students not subject to testing. Because so few students actually are tested due to cost and administrative constraints, the study suggests that to ensure maximum effectiveness, existent and future RSDT programs should be aware that it is important for students to know that they are participants in school random drug testing pools. Read more.

April 8, 2013Marijuana: A Human Experiment Without Informed Consent
In the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, Bertha K. Madras, Ph.D. describes how the United States is on the threshold of a national experiment, a human experiment that tests the health and safety of marijuana. The first experiments with psychoactive drugs began in the late 19th century, following the extraction and proliferation of active compounds from opium and coca plants. An exponential and unacceptable rise in human behavioral and biological calamities followed and elicited an aggressive response from the medical, legal and legislative communities. Over-the-counter use of heroin, smoked opium, morphine and cocaine died within a few decades in the early 20th century. The "War on Opium" led to a greater than 90% reduction in opium use internationally starting in the early 20th century. Since then, the popularity of illegally obtained heroin and cocaine has risen and fallen with public perception and access, but these heroin excursions affect much smaller populations than at the turn of the 20th century. We will never have an accurate tally of the human, legal and economic anguish that arose from the legal promotion and proliferation of heroin or cocaine in the few decades that these drugs were legally and widely available. Populations currently addicted are relatively small, but the grim consequences persist and are visible. Read more.

April 6, 2013ONDCP Director Joins US Secretary of Homeland Security on Southwest Border
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Gil Kerlikowske joined Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to highlight the progress made to disrupt illegal drug trafficking and improve operations along the Southwest border. Director Kerlikowske noted in addition to reducing the supply of illegal drugs there is need to reduce drug demand, adding "through funding and support to drug prevention groups in communities along the border and across the nation, we can make our borders safer while improving public health." Read more.

April 3, 2013GOP Should Stand Firm Against Drug Legalization
In an editorial featured in The Washington Post, Peter Wehner calls on Republicans to take a strong stance against drug use and legalization. In light of the well-funded and recently successful efforts of the pro-drug lobby to promote drug legalization, he states "this is the perfect time for Republicans to offer counterarguments grounded in medical science, common sense and human experience." He urges Republicans to "align themselves with parents, schools and communities in the great urgent task of any civilization: protecting children and raising them to become responsible adults." Legalization of drugs is not in the interest of public health and safety. Read more.

March 27, 2013Even a Little Pot Use Increases College Dropout Risk
New research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs shows that marijuana use is a predictor of discontinuous enrollment in college. A second study published in Psychiatric Services concluded that college students who experience depressive symptoms or seek treatment for depression during college may be at risk for discontinued enrollment; marijuana use and heavy drinking may add to this risk. Researcher Dr. Amelia Arria stated, "The perceived risk of marijuana is declining because people think it's more benign than it is, and its use is going up among college students. But we've known for a long time that marijuana affects cognition and memory." Read more. JSAD Study. Psychiatric Services Study.

March 21, 2013Marijuana Use By Pilot Contributed to Fatal Plane Crash
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released a report on the October 2011 crash of a commercial flight that killed the pilot and one passenger and seriously injured two other passengers. The TSB concluded "The concentrations of cannabinoids were sufficient to have caused impairment in pilot performance and decision-making on the accident flight." CBC News confirmed that Air Tindi has a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy. Full report. CBC News Article.

March 15, 2013Washington's Double Failure
In a new Joint Commentary, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. is joined in authorship by John J. Coleman, Ph.D., former DEA Assistant Administrator for Operations, and Peter B. Bensinger, former DEA Administrator. State-based marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado are in direct conflict with long-established federal laws and specific U.S. international treaty obligations. A recent Department of Justice oversight hearing provided a unique opportunity for the Senate Judiciary Committee to address the serious constitutional issue of marijuana legalization and insist that Attorney General Eric Holder uphold federal law. Instead of seizing that opportunity the subject was brushed aside by the Committee Chairman and ignored by other Committee members. Leadership is needed to ensure that federal laws are upheld and international treaty obligations met. Read more.

March 6, 2013Former DEA Heads Urge United States to Nullify Marijuana Laws
Nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have released a letter urging the United States Department of Justice to nullify laws passed in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana which are in direct violation to federal drug laws and international drug treaties. Peter Bensinger, former DEA Administrator under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, led the effort speaking at a news conference in Chicago, IL. Read more.

March 5, 2013Relaxation of U.S. Marijuana Laws Violates UN Drug Conventions
The Guardian reports that the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has criticized state laws in the U.S. that permit "medical" marijuana and legalization in Colorado and Washington. These laws are in violation of international drug conventions. The INCB President said, "They also undermine the humanitarian aims of the drug control system and are a threat to public health and wellbeing." Read more.

March 4, 2013New Study Shows Effects of Marijuana on Driving Skills
Science Daily highlighted new research published in Clinical Chemistry on the detection of marijuana in the blood of daily marijuana smokers over the course of a month of abstinence. Researchers demonstrated that cannabinoids can be detected in chronic smokers after a month of abstinence, consistent with persisting neurocognitive impairment seen among these drivers. Researchers conclude that per se drugged driving laws for marijuana may help reduce drugged driving. Read more.

February 27, 2013Marijuana Legalization is Far from Inevitable
In an editorial published by the AZ Capitol Times, Carolyn Short of Keep AZ Drug-Free compares the lavish funding given to pro-marijuana initiatives to their outspent opposition. Although national attention has focused on the passage of marijuana legalization in two states, anti-marijuana forces won most of the contests in 2012 and 2010 and lost only when outspent by large margins. She notes that the pro-marijuana lobby has misled the public to win elections and "opponents can defeat these initiatives only if they expose the deception." Read more. Keep AZ Drug Free.

February 22, 2013Fatal Drug Overdoses Increase for 11th Consecutive Year
The LA Times reports drug overdoses have increased once more in the United States, now totaling 38,329 in 2010 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The continued increase in fatal overdoses is reflects the increasing rates of prescription drug abuse, with over half of overdoses involving known prescription drugs. Of particular concern is opioid analgesics, or pain killers, which were involved in three quarters of all prescription drug-related overdoses. Read more.

February 22, 2013HOPE-Like Program Now State-Wide in Washington
After an initial successful pilot program modeled on Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program, the State of Washington passed legislation to modify community supervision provisions focused on using: intensive supervision with treatment, evidence-based treatment, swift and certain behavioral interventions, and new crime notification. The first large-scale test of the HOPE-like model is now underway. Using the swift and certain model, Washington is focusing on the 15,000 highest risk probationers and parolees. As the WA State Department of Corrections 2012 Report to the Legislature states, "Swift and certain sanctioning increases offender compliance with rules of supervision, improving public safety in the short term and allowing for more effective case management." Read more.

February 20, 2013New Drugged Driving Bill in California
Democratic Senator Lou Correa of Santa Ana, CA has introduced a new zero tolerance drugged driving per se bill under which driving with any detectable amount of a scheduled drug without a valid prescription would be a violation. In a press conference announcing the introduction of the bill, former Lt. Bob McGrory shared the tragic story of the death of his son, a CA highway patrolman who was killed by a drugged driver but the case ended in a hung jury. The McGrory family tragedy is one example of how current California laws fail to hold drugged drivers accountable. The proposed zero tolerance per se drugged driving law would be an important new tool for law enforcement and prosecutors in the battle against drugged driving. Read more.

February 11, 2013Colorado Should Not Adopt a Permissible Limit for THC
Colorado is considering a 5 nanogram/ml blood limit for THC in drivers, a policy that would give drugged drivers a free pass. More than 70% of blood samples tested from Colorado drivers arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana are below 5 ng/ml THC. Under a 5 ng limit for THC, few of these drivers would be charged or convicted. Ed Wood, an advocate for improved drugged driving laws and enforcement, explains in The Denver Post why the 5 ng/ml limit is not a good option for public safety or public health. Read more.

February 1, 2013Increases in Emergency Department Visits Due to Buprenorphine Use
Buprenorphine is a medication used to treat opioid addiction but like other drugs, it can be misused and abused. The number of emergency department visits related to buprenorphine use increased dramatically from 3,161 in 2005 to 30,135 in 2010. Of all nonmedical buprenorphine related ED visits in 2010, 41% only involved buprenorphine; 59% involved other drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a new report on the role of buprenorphine in ED visits. Read more.

January 28, 2013Lessons from a Tragedy; Mexican Drug Violence Claims an Unbowed Martyr
Last November, a hero in the fight against drugs and for a better future for her beleaguered country died. Maria Santos Gorrostieta was only 36 years old and lived in the city of Morelia, Mexico, where she previously served as Mayor. In a new joint commentary, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, Per Johansson of the World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) in Sweden and Carmen Fernández Cáceres of the Centros de Integracion Juvenil (CIJ) in Mexico reflect on Ms. Gorrostieta's remarkable courage and examine the absurdity of recent calls to legalize marijuana and other drugs in the United States as a solution to the drug-related violence in Mexico. They outline the current (and often misunderstood) Mexican drug laws and stress the importance of reducing the demand for drugs, disseminating universal prevention messages and strengthening programs focused on early detection and intervention of drug use. Read more.

January 25, 2013New ONDCP Deputy Director Discusses the Public Health Approach to a Balanced Drug Policy
In a commentary published by the Partnership at and Join Together, Michael Botticelli, the new Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, discusses the Obama Administration's dedication to taking a public health approach to drug policy. Under ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske's leadership, the office has established a new Recovery Branch as part of this public health approach. Mr. Botticelli previously served as the Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where he expanded innovative prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services for the state. Read more. ONDCP Biography of Michael Botticelli.

January 15, 2013New Paradigm Program - "Swift and Sure" - Approved in Michigan
The state of Michigan will implement a new Swift and Sure program for probationers based on Hawaii's HOPE Probation which has achieved outstanding results to reduce drug use, recidivism and incarceration. Like HOPE and other programs within the New Paradigm, the Swift and Sure program will use frequent random drug and alcohol testing with swift responses to any violation including substance use. A pilot program has already begun to demonstrate good results. The Swift and Sure program will be expanded across the state. Read more.

January 10 2013New Campaign Against Legal Pot: Smarter Approaches to Marijuana
Project SAM (Smarter Approaches to Marijuana) is a new initiative working to inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana. Leaders of SAM include Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Former White House Advisor Kevin Sabet, and addiction specialist Dr. Christian Thurstone, among others. They are starting a dialogue about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, preventing the establishment of Big Marijuana (a likely result of marijuana legalization) and promoting new research. Learn About Project SAM.

December 28, 2012National Survey Shows Five-Year Increases in Youth Marijuana Use; Recent Decreases in Perception of Harm from Use Predict Future Increases in Marijuana Use
The Monitoring the Future Study which surveyed 8th, 10th and 12th graders on their use of and attitudes about marijuana has serious implications for the health, safety and academic achievement of our nation's youth. Early and chronic marijuana use is directly correlated with decreased IQ, school dropout, addiction and psychosis. From 2007 to 2012 significant increases were seen in rates of past month marijuana use by youth. Recent decreases in perception of harm from use of marijuana predict future increases in marijuana use. The recent legalization of marijuana use, plus commercial production and sale, in Colorado and Washington State, and the legalization of "medical" marijuana in 18 states and the District of Columbia will likely lead to further decreases in youth perception of risk from harm. Read more.

December 20, 20122012 Monitoring the Future Study Highlights
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released highlights of the forthcoming 2012 Monitoring the Future Study results. While overall past month drug use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders was unchanged from 2011, from 2007 to 2012 past month of any illicit drug among 12th graders increased to 25.2%. Additionally, past month marijuana use among 10th graders increased from 14.2% to 17.0% and among 12th graders increased from 18.8% to 22.9%. Of deep concern are the changes seen in youth perceived risk of harm of using drugs and, in particular, marijuana. As perceived risk of harm from use decreases, the rate of use increases. Read more.

December 20, 2012IBH President Weighs in on Drugged Driving
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. was featured on the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) blog of journalist Jim Gogek. Dr. DuPont notes that there is no 0.08 g/dL BAC equivalent for drugs of abuse, including marijuana. The zero tolerance per se standard is the only workable standard to use. Marijuana legalization will increase use, and will result in huge increased costs in highway safety. Read more. Read Jim Gogek's entry, "Legalization May Mean More Drugged Driving - And More Drunk-Drugged Driving."

December 18, 2012Seizing the Drug Policy Initiative
The successful ballot initiatives in Washington and Colorado legalizing the production, sale and use by adults of commercial marijuana place the U.S. on a path to be the first nation in world to legalize marijuana outright, taxed and regulated just as are alcohol and tobacco. This is the time to set a new national agenda to reduce drug use and improve public health and safety. Read the action agenda for the future of drug policy from the Institute for Behavior and Health and join with us in promoting it.

December 13, 2012Speaking Out Against Drugged Driving
Ed Wood's son Brian was killed in a crash in 2010 when two women drugged on marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin were driving an SUV that crossed into Brian's lane. Since that time, Ed Wood has joined a chorus of voices speaking out against drugged driving. He has created a drugged driving victims network Deception Pass 3. Read more. Drugged driving presents a deadly risk to everyone on the road. Learn more about efforts to reduce drugged driving this December which is National Impaired Driving Month.

December 3, 2012IBH President and Former DEA Administrator Publish Letter to the Editor Against Marijuana Legalization
The Washington Post published a letter to the editor by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. and former DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger on the reckless commercialization of marijuana by Colorado and Washington State in their respective November 2012 ballot initiatives. Dr. DuPont and Mr. Bensinger add that, "The Justice Department, an ardent defender of preemption of conflicting state laws...has an obligation to stop this reckless "experiment" that violates federal and international law and threatens both public health and public safety." Read more.

December 3, 2012Department of Transportation Reaffirms Marijuana's Inclusion in Regulated Drug Testing Program
In light of recent state-based changes to marijuana laws, including legalization in Colorado and Washington and "medical" marijuana in other states, the U.S. Department of Transportation reaffirmed the inclusion of marijuana in its regulated drug testing program. The Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation 49 CFR Part 40 "does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason." DOT reiterates that "it remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation's drug testing regulations to use marijuana." Read more.

November 20, 2012Survey of California Drivers Shows 14% Positive for Drugs; More Drivers Positive for Marijuana than Alcohol
The California Office of Traffic Safety released results of a 2012 roadside survey of nighttime weekend drivers. One in seven (14%) drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving while 7.3% tested positive for alcohol. Slightly more drivers, 7.4%, tested positive for marijuana. More than one quarter of all marijuana-positive drivers also tested positive for another drug. This study demonstrates the growing prevalence of drugs among drivers which poses serious risk of crash and injury. The percentage of California drivers involved in fatal crashes that tested positive for drugs has increased since 2006, reaching 30% in 2010. California transportation groups are working to increase drug testing and the detection and prosecution of drugged drivers to reduce this public safety problem. Full Report. Press Release.

November 19, 2012What the Latest Top Cannabis Research Tells Us
Bertha Madras, Ph.D., Professor of Psychobiology at Harvard Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, summarizes the findings of all of the most recent, top, government-funded studies on cannabis on the website of addiction psychiatrist and researcher Christian Thurstone, M.D. Dr. Madras shares the facts which include that marijuana use disorder is associated with higher mortality; heavy marijuana use as a young adult can adversely affect your life; marijuana use increases probability of use of other drugs; prohibition has worked; marijuana is not good for cancer; and, smoked marijuana does not have a future as a medicine. Read more.

November 15, 2012Drugged and Drunk Driving Among Top Ten Transportation Challenges for 2013
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identified substance-impaired driving as one of the top ten transportation safety challenges for 2013, noting in particular the role of drugs in transportation accidents. The NTSB Top 10 List is designed to generate increased government, public, and industry awareness and support for changes needed to reduce traffic-related accidents and save lives. The consequences of drugged driving include traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Read more. Top Ten Challenges.

November 5, 2012State-Based Proposals to Legalize Marijuana Pose Serious Risks to Public Health
The Fix features a new article by Kevin Sabet, Ph.D., former advisor at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, on the current state-based proposals to legalize marijuana. Legalization of marijuana would pose serious risks to public health and public safety with anticipated increases in rates of addiction and use-related harms. Read more.

November 1, 2012IBH President Discusses Marijuana Policy on NPR's On Point
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. was a guest on the National Public Radio show, On Point, to discuss marijuana policy in the United States, including "medical" marijuana and current marijuana legalization efforts. Dr. DuPont served as co-chair of the writing committees for the American Society of Addiction Medicine's recent white papers on marijuana. ASAM opposes state-based legalization proposals which create unacceptable risks to public health. Moreover, ASAM concluded that smoked marijuana is not "medicine"; all cannabis-based and cannabinoid medications should be subjected to the rigorous scrutiny of the Federal Food and Drug Administration regulatory process. Dr. DuPont was joined on NPR by Jonathan Caulkins, Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project. Listen to the On Point program. ASAM white paper on marijuana legalization. ASAM white paper on "medical" marijuana.

October 31, 2012Physicians who use "Medical" Marijuana are Unsafe to Practice
Medscape reported from the International Conference on Physician Health in Montreal that the Colorado Physician Health Program has taken a leadership role in addressing the use of "medical" marijuana by physicians. Physicians who use "medical" marijuana are considered unsafe to practice medicine in the state of Colorado. Dr. Doris Gundersen, Medical Director of the Colorado Physician Health Program discussed in a conference presentation the rampant marijuana problem in her state. The number of medical marijuana registry identification cards issued in Colorado has increased seven fold in only two years. Physicians using "medical" marijuana put themselves and their patients at risk. Read more (free subscription required).

October 24, 2012More Than Two-Thirds of Americans Begin Drug Use with Marijuana
A new CESAR Fax reports that of the 3.1 million Americans aged 12 and older who used a drug other than alcohol for the first time in the past year, 68% reported marijuana was the first drug they tried. Over one fifth (22%) reported they first used prescription drugs nonmedically. These findings demonstrate the need for strong prevention efforts focused on marijuana and nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Read more.

October 15, 2012Law Enforcement Officials Urge Attorney General to Speak Out on Marijuana
Former DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger led a press conference of law enforcement officials and policy leaders at the National Press Club in Washington, DC calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to take a stand against the three state-based marijuana legalization initiatives which will appear on November ballots in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Read more. The press conference came after nine former DEA heads wrote a letter to AG Holder. As the Washington Post has reported, the Justice Department has remained silent on this issue. Read more.

October 3, 2012Don't Legalize Marijuana - It's Addictive
Dr. Andrea Barthwell, M.D. and IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. authored an op-ed published by the Seattle Times focused on why legalizing marijuana, an addictive drug of abuse, would be bad for public health. In November 2012, residents of Washington State will vote on Initiative 502, a ballot initiative that, if passed, would legalize marijuana. Drs. DuPont and Barthwell urge Washington and other states to reject legalization proposals. Read more.

October 2, 2012Results of the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that in 2011, 22.5 million Americans age 12 and older or 8.7% of the population used an illicit drug in the past 30 days, similar to 2010. The percentage of Americans who used marijuana in the past month dramatically increased 20% between 2007 (5.8%) and 2011 (7%). During this 5-year period, the number of past-year heroin users increased 66% from 373,000 in 2007 to 620,000 in 2011. Good news included a drop from 2010 to 2011 in the number of young adults age 18 to 25 who used prescription drugs nonmedically. Read the press release of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Read more. Press Release of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

October 1, 2012Ex-DEA Heads Urge Attorney General Holder to Oppose Marijuana Legalization Ballots
Nine former Administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration have urged Attorney General Eric Holder to oppose the marijuana legalization proposals appearing on the November 2012 ballots of Colorado, Oregon and Washington. In 2010, these former DEA heads encouraged Holder to oppose Prop-19, California's marijuana legalization bill which was narrowly defeated. Read more.

September 20, 2012Why We Need a Revolution
Thoughtful Living released a commentary by Calvina Fay, Executive Director of the Drug Free America Foundation, about the growing acceptance of marijuana use and the lack of education about its harmfulness. She states that a revolution is needed in drug policy - "one that involves a responsible rising up against drug use, cultivation and trafficking." Read more.

September 8, 2012Marijuana Legalization Takes Center Stage This Election Season
In a commentary from the Partnership, Stuart Gitlow, M.D., President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), discusses the issue of marijuana legalization which will appear on three state ballots in November 2012. Often overlooked in discussions of drug policy are the public health costs of marijuana legalization. Dr. Gitlow encourages physicians and other health professionals to become more aware of the undesirable consequences of legalization and to encourage public education about these facts. Read more.

September 6, 2012What is Recovery Project
What Is Recovery? is a research project of the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) which conducts and disseminates high-quality research in epidemiology of alcohol consumption and problems, alcohol health services research, and alcohol policies, while also training future generations of alcohol researchers. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health. If you are in recovery and are over 18 years of age, consider taking the "What is Recovery?" online survey at

September 5 2012Global Commission on Drug Policy's Misleading and Irresponsible Drug Prevalence Statistics
Kathy Gyngell, Research Fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies, issued a brief report revealing the exaggerated claims of the Global Commission on Drug Policy about increases in global consumption of drugs. As Ms. Gyngell reports, calculations made by the Global Commission were based on flawed methodology. Despite confirmation by the United Nations, the misinformation of the Global Commission continues to make headlines. Read report. Read more.

September 4, 2012CASA Columbia National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Use
The latest CASA Columbia survey shows that 86% of American high school students report that their classmates are using drugs, alcohol or tobacco during the school day; 44% of teens know a student who sells drugs at their school (91% report marijuana, 24% prescription drugs, 9% cocaine, 7% ecstasy). Three quarters of teens 12- to 17-year-olds report that pictures of teens partying with alcohol or marijuana on social networking sites encourage other teens to do so. The survey confirms that parental expectations can significantly impact teens' decisions to use or not use substances. Read more. CASA Statement by Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

August 30, 2012Protecting Children From illicit Drugs
The Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, published an op-ed applauding the new publication, The Protection of Children from Illicit Drugs - A Minimum Human Rights Standard, a legal analysis of how human rights should be respected in the field of drug policy. Authored by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D., Kerstin Käll, Chief Medical Officer at the Dependence Clinic of the University Hospital in Linköping Sweden, and Per Johansson, Secretary of the Board of the World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD), the article emphasizes the role that the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Article 33 must play in any discussion of drug policy and human rights as it is the only UN convention that deals with illicit drugs. UN States have an obligation to protect children's rights to drug-free childhoods. Sweden has an opportunity to play an important role in shifting the current drug policy discussions away from protecting the "rights" of drug users to use illicit drugs, to focusing on protecting children from drugs. English Translation. Original Swedish Text.

August 29, 2012The Changing Face of American Addictions
The Daily News interviewed Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., a psychologist and addiction researcher, about what drives addictive behavior and how addiction has changed in the United States. Dr. Humphreys specifically discusses the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, noting that the availability of a drug largely drives rates of use. Read more.

August 23, 2012Early Marijuana Use Increases Later Prescription Painkiller Abuse
In a study of persons aged 18-25, early marijuana use was associated with an increased risk of later prescription opioid abuse. For men, prior alcohol and prior tobacco use was also associated with later prescription painkiller use. Given the recent increase in abuse of prescription opioids, researchers recommend the prevention of early substance abuse may help curb abuse of prescription opioids. Read more. Article Abstract.

August 16, 2012Marijuana Laws and Arizona v. United States
In an unpublished op-ed, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. and John Coleman, Former Assistant Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), discuss the often overlooked fact that despite ongoing efforts to legalize marijuana, any state law that permits the production, distribution and possession of marijuana for any purpose is direct conflict with well-established federal law. The recent Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States provides a useful precedent for resolving the federal-state conflict over the legal status of marijuana. The Supreme Court upheld the supremacy of federal law. Congress has legislative authority to preempt state law, including state-based marijuana laws that are in conflict with federal law. Read more.

August 14, 2012Marijuana Use Causes Brain Damage Confirmed
Australian researchers from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute issued a press release on new research confirming that long-term heavy marijuana use causes damage to the brain. Individuals who begin using marijuana in early adolescence "suffered the greatest abnormalities, and experienced greatest cognitive impairment." Read more. Another research study from the same group published in Addiction, demonstrated that adolescents who smoked marijuana weekly or more often are two times as likely as non-marijuana users to have anxiety disorders in their late 20s, even if marijuana use stops. Read more.

August 6, 2012Medical Marijuana Commonly Diverted Among Teens
A study of teens aged 14 to 18 in two substance abuse treatment programs in Denver, Colorado revealed that nearly three quarters (73.8%) of the teens used "medical" marijuana that was recommended to someone else. Diverted medical marijuana was used a reported median of 50 times. Most teens perceived marijuana use has having slight or no risk. Teens who used medical marijuana began regular marijuana use at earlier ages, more symptoms of marijuana abuse and dependence, and more symptoms related to conduct disorders compared to teens who did not use medical marijuana. Read more. Abstract.

July 31, 2012American Society of Addiction Medicine Opposes Marijuana Legalization
In a new White Paper entitled, State Level Proposals to Legalize Marijuana, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), opposes marijuana legalization. As the leading organization of addiction specialists, ASAM cannot support any policy proposal that would make marijuana, a drug of abuse, more widely available and more acceptable. "ASAM asserts that the anticipated public health costs of marijuana legalization are significant and are not sufficiently appreciated by the general public or by public policymakers. Physicians and other health professionals must become more aware of the anticipated undesirable outcomes of marijuana legalization and encourage public education on these facts." ASAM makes strong recommendations in support of leadership from physicians to oppose legislative or ballot initiatives that would result in marijuana legalization. Read more. IBH President Dr. Robert L. DuPont served as a Co-Chair of the Committee with Dr. Andrea Barthwell. Read their guest blog post on the ASAM President's Blog.

July 27, 2012Evaluating "Medical" Marijuana in the Wake of LA Ban
In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times, psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. David Sacks reviews what is known about the medical benefits of marijuana use and the practice of "medical" marijuana. The negative health effects of marijuana are known, as are the growing number of problems stemming from "medical" marijuana; it is clear that marijuana is not medicine. Read more.

July 25, 2012Buyers' Remorse for "Medical" Marijuana in California
In an article featured on The Huffington Post, Kevin Sabet, Ph.D. articulates the many problems California has experiences since legalizing "medical" marijuana. The voters who approved of "medical" marijuana were deceived. Read more.

July 5, 2012National Institute on Drug Abuse on Marijuana as a Medicine
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a new issue of DrugFacts on marijuana, answering the question "Is marijuana medicine?" with a resounding "No." Medicines are products that are studied and determined as safe and effective for use to treat specific medical conditions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Marijuana does not meet the standards of modern medicine. Marijuana could, however, be used in the creation of FDA-approvable medications.Read more.

June 17, 2012Experts Warn About Consequences of Legalizing Marijuana
Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will each vote on measures to legalize marijuana at the state level. Under these propositions, marijuana would remain illegal under federal law. Experts Jon Caulkins, Ph.D., and Mark Kleiman, Ph.D. explain that legalizing marijuana in any state would have immediate impacts on rates of marijuana use and the price of marijuana in surrounding states. The legalization of marijuana is unprecedented and its full consequences unknown. Read more.

June 1, 2012Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. High School Students Report Heavy Marijuana Use in the Past Month
In its CESAR Fax, the Center for Substance Abuse Research reported new data from the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study that 9% of all high school students in the United States used marijuana 20 times or more in the past month. "While all past month marijuana users were more likely than nonusers to also report the use of other licit or illicit drugs in the past year, heavy marijuana users were most likely to report such use." Read more.

May 29, 20123rd World Forum Against Drugs Great Success
The World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) recently concluded its 3rd World Forum Against Drugs in Stockholm, Sweden. The Forum brought together leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals from around the globe working together to prevent drug abuse. IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. participated in the WFAD Congress which produced a new statement entitled, "Moving Towards a Drug-free Society." Dr. DuPont also presented at the official inauguration. DuPont Prepared Remarks. 2012 Forum Resources.

May 22, 2012International Leaders Sign Joint Statement at World Forum Against Drugs
Drugnews in Sweden published a joint statement signed by leaders in global drug policy while at the 2012 World Forum Against Drugs in Stockholm. Sven-Olov Carlsson of the World Federation Against Drugs participated in the release of the joint statement that called for a humane and balanced drug policy and was signed by Maria Larsson of Sweden, Viktor Ivanov of Russia, Gus Jaspert of the UK, Gil Kerlikowske of the United States, and Giovanni Serpelloni of Italy. Read more.

May 21, 2012National Transportation Safety Board Holds Forum on Impaired Driving
This month the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a forum entitled, Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Substance-Impaired Driving, in Washington, DC. IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD was one of many experts who participated, speaking about "The Role of Drugs in Impaired Driving: The Effects of Drugs on Driving and Identifying Impairment." Dr. DuPont encouraged the NTSB to play a leading role in identifying the impact of illegal drug use in driving. DuPont Prepared Remarks. NTSB Forum Information. Video Archive.

May 3, 2012Pulling Back the Curtain on US Drug Demand
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) brought the issue of drug policy to The Hill, recognizing that drug legalization is not the solution to the nation's drug problems. What is needed now is the development of effective strategies to reduce the demand for drugs in the United States. To do this, youth-based prevention is needed. HOPE Probation is also an important model program for how the criminal justice system can successfully reduce drug use among community corrections populations. Read more. HOPE Probation.

April 30, 2012American Teens: Live Fast, Die Hard
A new article series on adolescence in The Lancet shows that American teens between the ages of 10 and 24 smoke more marijuana, drink nearly as much alcohol and are more likely to die violent deaths, compared to young people in the same age group around the globe. It is clear that new youth-focused drug and alcohol prevention programs are needed. Read more. Visit the IBH prevention

April 19, 2012Drug Testing and the Future of American Drug Policy
IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. was the plenary speaker at the 2012 Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. DuPont discussed the important role of drug testing in drug policy today and future uses and development needs. A new paradigm has emerged in drug policy to improve long-term treatment outcomes. Drug testing is at the center of that paradigm which has produced impressive results in physicians with substance use disorders and among drug-using offenders in the criminal justice system. Other areas of development and uses for drug testing includes efforts to reduce drugged driving and youth drug prevention efforts. Read more.

April 17, 2012ONDCP Releases 2012 National Drug Control Strategy
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDP) released its 2012 National Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy builds on those released by the Obama Administration in 2010 and 2011 and focuses on reducing drug use and the consequences of that use. The goals of IBH support those of ONDCP outlined in the Strategy including reducing drugged driving, improving the link between treatment and the criminal justice system, improving international drug policy and partnerships, and reducing prescription drug abuse. The American Society of Addiction Medicine is one of many organizations supporting the 2012 Strategy. Read more.

April 15, 2012Cracking the Mexican Cartels
In a New York Times op-ed, Robert C. Bonner, a former administration for the Drug Enforcement Administration, explains the steps taken by Mexican President Felipe Calderón to address the serious drug-related crime and violence in his country. Bonner suggests that Mexico, come December 2012, will need a successor to Calderón who can lead an aggressive asset-seizure program to dismantle the remaining cartels. Read more.

March 23, 2012The Role of Drug Testing in the Workplace
In recent months, with several new initiatives being approved at the state level, the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. has developed a commentary on workplace drug testing. Workplace drug testing programs serve both as strong prevention programs, and also as a path to treatment and recovery. Employers are encouraged to follow best practices and use appropriate follow-up measures to maximize the benefits of drug testing programs. Read more.

March 23, 2012Research-Informed Solutions to Substance Use Problems
The Partnership at published a new commentary by A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., CEO of the Treatment Research Institute, focused on the need to use evidence-based prevention, identification and treatment of substance use problems. There is great need for more science-backed tools in health care, treatment, and criminal justice settings, among others. Read more. Read the Six Parenting Practices to Reduce the Chances of Developing a Drug or Alcohol Problem.

March 22, 2012Responding to the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
A commentary by R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), was featured in The Huffington Post online. He describes the Obama administration's orientation to drug policy which rejects the term "war on drugs." They have taken "a mainstream approach to the drug problem, employing a balance of public health and safety approaches to reduce drug use and its consequences." In that effort, the administration has aimed a strong focus on reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse which will reverse the increasing rates of overdose deaths. Read more.

March 13, 2012Five Public Policies that will Lead to Pain Relief Without Prescription Overdoses
In a new Join Together article from the Partnership at, Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. discusses major policy changes needed to resolve tension between providing pain relief and reducing the prescription opioid overdose epidemic. Read more.

March 5, 2012Drug Tests for Public Assistance Recipients: A Sensible and Powerful Drug Prevention Strategy
With 23 states are considering proposals to require individuals to pass a drug test to receive public assistance, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. discusses this issue in a new commentary. There are two underlying realities that are seldom discussed in this often politicized and heated debate. The first is that illegal drug use is a serious problem for many people across all spectrums of society, including those receiving public assistance. The second is that routine drug testing is not a punishment. It is a benefit to those being tested because it helps them become and stay drug-free. Read more.

March 4, 2012Driving High is a Treat to the Public
R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) published a guest op-ed in the Denver Post on the importance of implementing drugged driving per se laws to reduce this serious public safety problem. Research has shown that marijuana is the most common drug among drugged drivers and its use doubles the risk of crash. Director Kerlikowske urges Colorado to pass a drug per se law as the debate on marijuana-related issues in the state moves forward. Read more.

February 24, 2012The Campaign to Normalize Marijuana Use in the United States
Over the last two decades, cultural attitudes toward the nonmedical use of drugs, and in particular toward marijuana use, have changed in the United States. During this time, across the country well-funded groups have promoted "medical marijuana" and marijuana legalization. Often overlooked is the impact of these pro-marijuana efforts beyond the borders of the states in which the "medical marijuana" laws exist and in which legalization efforts are promoted. Read more.

February 23, 2012New York Times Publishes Letter to the Editor on Marijuana by IBH President and Former DEA Administrator
In a letter to the editor, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. and Former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Peter B. Bensinger discuss the immense costs of "medical marijuana". Any taxes collected on "medical marijuana" will be significantly outweighed by the social costs, including those related to health care, treatment admissions, lost productivity and increased risk of motor vehicle crashes. Read more.

February 21, 2012Marijuana Reality Check
Guest columnist for, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. authored a new summary article on the negative effects of marijuana use. With a growing number of Americans showing support for "medical marijuana" and marijuana legalization, marijuana-based initiatives must be effectively combated with knowledge about the serious consequences of marijuana use. Read more.

February 16, 2012How to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse
The New York Times presents six perspectives on how to reduce prescription drug abuse, a problem classified as an epidemic. Debaters cover topics including the role of the government, the drug industry, the need for physician education and training, developing a national prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), public education campaigns, the parallels of controlling prescription drugs and gun control, and the role of patients. Read more.

February 3, 2012IBH President Featured in Join Together Newsletter
Join Together and the Partnership at featured a commentary by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. on a new paradigm for long-term outcomes of substance abuse treatment. The new paradigm includes long-term monitoring with swift, certain and serious consequences for any detection of drug or alcohol use. Using this paradigm the Physician Health Programs have set a new standard for long-term recovery. A similar approach has been used by Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) yielding outstanding results. Read more.

January 31, 2012Police Seek Help Identifying Drugged Drivers
Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have proposed that federal funding in a pending transportation funding bill be used for research and to train police officers to identify drugged drivers. In addition to illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse poses a threat to the nation's roads. National self-report and roadside surveys have clearly demonstrated that drugged driving is a serious public health and public safety problem. Read more.

January 31, 2012American Society of Addiction Medicine Releases Public Policy Statement on Measures to Counteract Prescription Drug Diversion, Misuse and Addiction
In a new public policy statement, ASAM recommends specific components be included in any public policy response to the growing problem of prescription drug addiction, diversion, misuse and overdose deaths. The new policy calls for mandatory education for prescribers of all controlled substance, patient education, full use of state prescription drug monitoring programs and continued research on the patterns of manufacture, distribution and sales of psychoactive drugs which have the potential for diversion and misuse. Public Policy Statement.

January 23, 2012Recovery on College Campuses
The New York Times examines the new and growing development of recovery programs on college campuses and features IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. The modern college campus is home to a population of people at the peak age for the use of alcohol and illegal drugs. Recovery programs on campus are an important step to reduce substance abuse and to promote life-long recovery from substance abuse. Read more.

January 17, 2012IBH President's Letter to the Editor on Marijuana Study
A letter to the editor by IBH President Robert L. DuPont, M.D. was published online by The Washington Times. Headlines streaming from a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that marijuana is safe. Dr. DuPont notes that overlooked in the media is the large body of evidence of serious negative effects of marijuana use, including those related to cognitive and physical impairment, psychosis and motor vehicle crashes. Read more.