HHS official wants states to know the risks of pot legalization

The top HHS official in charge of preventing substance abuse called for a grassroots effort to inform states of the long-term health risks of marijuana as more states pursue legalization.

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistance secretary for mental health and substance use within HHS, implored attendees at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Prevention Day event to work with states on the health risks of marijuana. Katz, who heads up SAMHSA, said that marijuana today has a higher count of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that creates its mind-altering effect, compared to 20 years ago.

“It is taking time to get attention to the issue, but you all can help with that,” McCance-Katz told the audience of addition prevention advocates and community leaders. “There has to be a huge sea change in order for this to be altered at this point.”

Full story at Modern Healthcare

Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have completed the first comprehensive analysis of the prevalence of prescription stimulant use, misuse, use disorders, and motivations for misuse in the U.S. adult population. Looking at annual averages, approximately 6.6% (or 16 million) of U.S. adults used prescription stimulants in the preceding year; 4.5% (or 11 million) used prescription stimulants appropriately (without misuse); 2.1% (or 5 million) misused prescription stimulants at least once; and 0.2% (or 0.4 million) had prescription stimulant use disorders. The article analyzed data from the 2015 and 2016 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).

Full story at drugabuse.org

Almost 44 Million Americans Had Mental Illness in the Past Year

Almost 44 million American adults—18 percent—had some type of mental illness in the past year, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Among the states, mental illness estimates ranged from 15.83 percent in New Jersey to 22.72 percent in Oregon, HealthDay reports.

Full story at drugfree.org

Fewer Americans Say They Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol

Fewer Americans said they drove under the influence of alcohol In 2014 compared with 2002, according to a new government report.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 11 percent of those surveyed said they drove under the influence of alcohol in 2014, down from 15 percent in 2002, HealthDay reports.

An estimated 28 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in 2014.

Full story of fewer Americans driving under the influence of alcohol at drugfree.org

Challenges in going from residential substance abuse treatment to the community

An estimated 2.15 million people in the U.S. — 9% of the population — have a diagnosable substance use disorder (SUD). Epidemiological and clinical studies suggest that SUDs follow a chronic, relapsing course, with cycles of recovery, relapse, and multiple treatment episodes, over the course of several years.

“According to SAMHSA (2015), alcohol and drug abuse and related problems contribute substantially to the burden of disease in the U.S., costing an estimated $400 billion annually,” said Dr. Jennifer Manuel, PhD, an assistant professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work, and an affiliated researcher with New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (NYU CDUHR). “It is essential to reduce the cycle of treatment for SUDs — both for public health and financial reasons.”

Full story of residential substance abuse treatment at Science Daily