Harm Reduction

There are tons of mommy forums and mommy blogs that are influential and followed by a great many women. Some provide really great advice, some are humorous and some share stories of triumphs and tribulations.  I think that is great.  I, personally, belong to a group of physician moms.  What I don't think is great is when someone with zero training to do so, imparts medical advice to their readers. 

I am not entirely sure why this is so, but I have a sneaking suspicion many people feel that what they read on the internet is equivalent to "doing their research."  I cannot stand hearing this because inevitably it is followed up with a statement where you end up either offending the individual or drawing blood from having to bite your tongue.   

One of these sore points, for...

You would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the opioid crisis going on today. 

It is at an all time high in the US and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, the epidemic has gotten so bad that members of the White House's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction called on the President this week to "declare a national emergency." 

The numbers are staggering with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimating that 142 U.S. citizens die every day from a drug overdose. At the heart of these deaths are opioids such as Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and fentanyl.

What we are currently doing to stop the crisis is, obviously, not working.

We, as a society, have not made an effort...

Under the new director, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the Food and Drug Administration just announced a new "comprehensive regulatory plan" to decrease the plague of tobacco-related deaths. While we're pleased to see the FDA continue to pay attention to this totally preventable cause of death, we're not sure that the steps they've outlined will all be effective in doing so.

One of the more questionable aspects of the new plan is the possible encouragement of producing cigarettes with lower nicotine levels as a way to make them less addictive. While we certainly agree that nicotine is highly...

Nicotine is one of the most addictive and widely used drugs in the world, bar none. And that's a big part of why it's so difficult for smokers to quit cigarettes. Of course, that's not the whole story, since there are replacement products that supply the drug without the damaging effects of inhaling smoke. However, these don't seem to be as satisfying since they don't mimic the movements and mode of nicotine delivery that accompany cigarette smoking.

Enter the electronic cigarette, or e-cig. The device can look like a cigarette (or cigar or pipe), but instead of burning tobacco, it provides a nicotine-containing vapor that the user inhales, thus getting a "hit" in the same way one would get from smoking. So, as a harm-reduction tool — to get smokers away from the deleterious...

There is good news and bad news from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The bad news is that teenagers are still smoking and 3.9 million of them are current tobacco users (having a tobacco product in the past 30 days) - a number made even more upsetting by the fact that nine out of ten cigarette smokers first try smoking by age 18. As we have long said, smoking is a pediatric disease and if we can end it in kids, few adults will take it up.

The good news is that that use dropped from 4.7 million in 2015.

The usage of most products decreased to some extent but there was a significant decrease in the usage of vaping products...

During the 1990s and 2000s, opponents of the legalization of marijuana (be it recreational or medical) argued that it served as a "gateway" to harder drugs.

While the gateway hypothesis cannot be entirely ruled out, it is also unlikely to be true. Most people who smoke marijuana do not move on to injecting heroin or snorting cocaine. The likelier explanation is that when people decide to do something rebellious, they begin by picking the "low-hanging fruit," such as alcohol, tobacco, or pot.

Put another way, if a person who uses hard drugs first started with marijuana, that does not mean that marijuana caused him to use those hard drugs. Just because A...

It seems like the important message about the dangerous effects of indoor tanning is getting through.

Between the years 2010 and 2015, there's been a significant decrease in the number of American adults who use tanning beds, according to results of a recent study. By analyzing voluminous survey data, researchers concluded that use dropped 33 percent during that five-year period. 

In 2010, 11.7 million adults of both sexes in the United States declared that they used tanning bed, but in 2015 that figure dropped to 7.8 million – a noticeable and welcome difference. Put another way, over that span the percentage of all adults in the survey reporting use of these devices fell from 5.5 to 3.5. (see first line on below table, courtesy study's...

A new, comprehensive report on breast cancer avoidance reached two important conclusions regarding how women can manage their risk: one focused on ways to reduce it with exercise, and the other showed, conversely, how light – but steady – alcohol consumption increases this cancer risk.

The paper, incorporating data on 12 million individuals from nearly 120 studies, showed that engaging in vigorous exercise – such as running and briskly-paced bicycling – cut risk by as much as 17 percent in pre-menopausal women, and 10 percent in post-menopausal women. Those figures were as compared to those classified as "least active." 

Meanwhile, the second main takeaway showed "strong evidence that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grams alcohol...

The word is spreading around the world — electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, vaping devices) are a much safer source of nicotine than are combustion cigarettes. New Zealand just announced the legalization of nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine e-cigarette liquid.

Rather than burning tobacco, and creating smoke with up to 5,000 toxic chemicals, 70 of which are linked to cancer, vaping uses diluted nicotine vapor. Studies have shown...

As the grocery stores start to sell out, school districts and offices announce closures and group discussions become preoccupied with the arrival of Snowstorm Stella, there is no better time to remind everyone of ways to avoid unnecessary injury and hardship.

Of the weather-induced causes of death that amounted to 2,000 per year between 2006-2010, 63% were due to excessive natural cold, hypothermia or both. For further review of winter hazards and how to avoid them, read Winter is No Wonderland.

Let’s address some basics for the purpose of prevention:

What is Hypothermia?

It is a dangerous, medically urgent condition where the body temperature has dropped too low as a...