Costs of substance use disorders from claims data for Medicare recipients from a population-based sample

This is a brief report published in February 2017 issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment by myself and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In this paper, we compared the total Medicare costs of eligible recipients based upon their history of substance use disorders (SUD). We found that, in general, those with a SUD history had higher Medicare costs than those without a SUD history. I’ll discuss this finding in a bit more detail below and link to the abstract.

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Does Starting to Smoke Cigars Trigger Onset of Cannabis Blunt Smoking?

In our recent paper published in the January 2017 issue of the journal of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, we bring a spotlight on the relationship between cigar smoking and the risk of smoking cannabis blunts (i.e., rolling marijuana inside the hollowed-out shell of a tobacco cigar). In the US, nearly half of cannabis users smoke blunts and this proportion is likely higher among those most at risk for starting to use cannabis (i.e., ages 16-25). This is perhaps the first quantitative study to examine a modifiable, potential cause (i.e., cigar use) in the development of blunt smoking. Our findings show that starting to smoke cigars increases the immediate risk of starting to smoke blunts. However, the potential causes of blunt smoking remain understudied, and this initial finding needs to be replicated by stronger studies (e.g., longitudinal studies that gather data over multiple time points). I’ll discuss the paper and its findings in more detail below, followed by the abstract and link to the article.

Continue reading Does Starting to Smoke Cigars Trigger Onset of Cannabis Blunt Smoking?