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Soaring rates of vaping among young people and associated problems have resulted in great urgency and important challenges for policymakers. Despite the urgency, policies should be evidence-based and thoughtfully designed. They require effective, collaborative, and well-funded enforcement by federal and state governments. Policymakers should aim to reduce vaping among young people while maintaining avenues to help smokers quit. Finally, policies should be forward-thinking, since the e-cigarette market is rapidly changing and e-cigarette companies can be more agile than regulators.

Published March 25, 2020, at NEJM.org. DOI:  10.1056/NEJMp1917065   

Adolescent Brain Development: WEBINAR - Ken C. Winters (Ph.D. is a Senior Scientist at the Oregon Research Institute )

VAPING CRISIS Info Sheet


 

The CDC updated its warning to suggest that e-cigarette and vaping device users refrain from using the products at all during the course of its investigation. It has also warned against buying counterfeit or street vaping products, including those with THC or other cannabinoids, and against modifying e-cigarette products. Moreover, the CDC urges youth, pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products to refrain from using e-cigarette products and encourages individuals who smoke and want to quit to use FDA-approved medications instead of e-cigarettes.

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In prior work, it’s been noted how psychosis can follow methamphetamine use and last into abstinence. Varying levels of methamphetamine use can induce psychosis, depending in part on an individual’s background, and it can develop quickly or after 20 years of use. This psychosis can be quite similar to Schizophrenia - in some cases, violent behaviors have been connected to methamphetamine psychosis as well. A study of Japanese prisoners found that a subgroup of methamphetamine users experienced chronic psychosis. Lingering cognitive problems may cause other health complications, difficulty thinking or concentrating at work, and increasingly risky behavior, in addition to higher relapse rates. Furthermore, later-in-life stress can also revive psychotic symptoms. More research on methamphetamine and cognitive problems can help treatment providers understand these hidden tripwires for patients.

Some of the strategies currently used to treat traumatic brain injuries may be helpful, as may use of exercise, dance, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Post drug abstinence psychoses may not be as reversible by medications used for naturally-occurring psychoses.

With methamphetamine this is even more important as medication assisted therapies do not exist. Time of abstinence, rehabilitation with healthy thinking, eating, sleeping, and diet are easier to prescribe or advise than find. Time of abstinence is of the essence as it appears that methamphetamine induces a drug use disorder with binges, relapses and cravings but also with loss of brain function and evidence of something that looks like a traumatic brain injury. Treating it like a neurological injury in addition to traditional addiction treatment, may be an idea worth looking at too.

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