July 2014

Within the 2 weeks prior to responding to a nationwide survey, 28 percent of high school seniors were in a vehicle whose driver had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or had drunk 5 or more alcoholic drinks.

Social media can influence teens with pro-drug messages

Girl texting on her cell phone

A new NIDA-funded study analyzed the content and demographic reach of a popular pro-marijuana Twitter handle in 2013 and found that only ten percent of the messages mentioned any risky behaviors associated with marijuana use.

Study compares effectiveness of oral drug tests for recent marijuana use

A variety of oral drug testing devices are available to determine recent marijuana use. For the first time, a new NIDA study compares the ability of these devices to accurately detect specific cannabinoids – the chemical compounds found in marijuana. The researchers looked at diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency of the tests. In particular, the study identified devices that perform better at determining cannabinoid concentrations within certain time periods of detection in occasional and frequent users.

May 2014

Driving under the influence of marijuana is a dangerous public health concern. NIDA researchers have discovered that breath expelled into a Breathalyzer-style collection device contained measurable amounts of THC for up to 2 hours after participants in a recent clinical trial smoked the drug.

April 2014

Exposing rats to THC increases the likelihood that the animals will later self-administer nicotine. THC-exposed rats are also willing to work harder to obtain nicotine. When extrapolated to people, the findings suggest that THC’s pharmacological impact on the brain may make a person who uses marijuana more vulnerable to developing nicotine addiction, an underappreciated health consequence of marijuana use.

April 2014

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

February 2014

Teen mothers on three American Indian reservations improved on several measures of parenting after participating in Family Spirit, a home-visiting intervention developed with NIDA support. At 12 months postpartum, the women’s children exhibited reduced rates of emotional difficulties predicting later drug abuse and other behavioral problems. Infants at highest risk—those whose mothers had histories of drug abuse—benefited the most.

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