Smokers Struggle On The Job Market

smokersWe have known for a long time the dangers associated with tobacco use, including a number of forms of cancer and heart disease. As a result, it is much harder to be a smoker today than it once was; cigarettes are much more expensive and there are far fewer places that allow smoking. Efforts to reduce smoking rates in the United States have been successful; smoking rates have dropped dramatically over the course of the last few decades. Nevertheless, there are still an estimated 40 million adults in the United States who currently smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While smoking cigarettes comes at a great cost to one’s health and pocketbook, it turns out that those who smoke cigarettes experience another expense as well. New research indicates that smokers struggle on the job market, and remain unemployed longer than nonsmokers, CBS News reports. The study was conducted by researchers from Stanford University and the findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“There’s been good knowledge of the harms of smoking in terms of health, but it’s also important to appreciate the fiscal harms of tobacco use,” said lead study author Judith Prochaska, PhD, MPH.

What’s more, the researchers found that even when smokers manage to find employment – they earn much less than their nonsmoking peers, according to the article. The research involved 131 unemployed smokers and 120 unemployed nonsmokers. Only 27 percent of smokers found a job after a year’s time, compared with 56 percent of nonsmokers; of those smokers who found a job, they averaged $5 less per hour, compared to their nonsmoking peers.

“The health harms of smoking have been established for decades,” said Prochaska in a news release, “and our study here provides insight into the financial harms of smoking both in terms of lower re-employment success and lower wages.”

There are plenty of incentives to quit smoking, as is clear by the mountains of research that has been conducted over the years. However, it is often said that nicotine is one of the most difficult addictive substances to quit, the reason for which are varied but it is possible to quit. The best shot of quitting usually comes by way of behavioral therapy in conjunction with smoking cessation products, such as nicotine gum or patches.

It is worth pointing out that research conducted recently has found that those in addiction recovery who smoke cigarettes are at greater risk of relapse than those who do not smoke. If you are in recovery and still smoke, a serious consideration of quitting may be in order.

Pregnant Women Drinking and Binge Drinking

binge-drinkingIt has long been understood that alcohol can have adverse effects on unborn fetuses, resulting in problems that can last a lifetime. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in babies being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a disorder which can occur if pregnant women use opioids during their pregnancy term. Any mind altering substance can seriously impact developing babies.

Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy put their baby at risk of developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). In the United States, every alcohol beverage has a warning label which cautions pregnant women about use; despite that, however, many women still drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy.

New research suggests that many women are not only drinking whilst pregnant, they are binge drinking as well, Medical News Today reports. The findings come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the past 30 days, 10% of pregnant women in the US ages 18-44 have consumed alcohol and another 3.1 percent of pregnant women report binge drinking. Binge drinking is commonly defined for women as having 4 drinks in a two hour period. 3.1 percent translates to about 30 percent of pregnant women who consume alcohol binge drinking, according to the article.

“Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should be aware that there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy. All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer, and liquor,” said Cheryl Tan, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist in the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

Women most likely to drink while pregnant were:

  • Ages 35-44 years (18.6%)
  • College Graduates (13%)
  • Unmarried Women (12.9%)

The findings were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.

A Call for Medication-Assisted Treatment

Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Opioid addiction treatment is of the utmost importance as the United States struggles with what can only be described as an epidemic. Recovering from opioid use disorders is quite difficult and the rate of relapse among opioid addicts is high. Fortunately, there are medications available, such as Suboxone ® (buprenorphine), that can assist those recovering from opioid addictions have a better shot at success. On the other hand, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that of the 2.5 million Americans that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) could help, only 40 percent actually receive it, USA Today reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drug overdoses are cutting the lives short of nearly 44,000 Americans every year (more than car accidents), the need for greater access to medication that recovering addicts could benefit from is great. Opioid addicts who are given MAT cut their risk of death from all causes in half, according to Melinda Campopiano of SAMHSA.

Suboxone ® is normally used in treatment settings for detoxification purposes, easing the discomfort of opioid withdrawal, and in most cases recovering addicts are weaned off of the drug within two weeks of the initial detox. However, many addicts who have history of chronic relapse have used Suboxone ® maintenance programs to reduce the chances of another relapse, and potentially preventing an unforeseen overdose. The drug has two facets, it eases the discomfort of withdrawal and it blocks the effects of opiates – if a patient uses opioids they will not experience the euphoric effects of the drug.

“Some people can taper off of it, but some people need it forever,” said Kelly Clark, President-Elect of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “We don’t tell people, ‘Let’s decrease your dose of statins and see how you do.’ The goal of treating your cholesterol is not to get you off statins. The goal is to decrease your risk of a heart attack.”

Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rand Paul, R-Ky. introduced bills to expand access to medication-assisted treatment, according to the article. The American Society of Addiction Medicine increased access medication-assisted treatment.

Opioid use disorders affect millions of Americans. If you are struggling with opioids, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for the treatment of alcoholism.

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