The Devastating Impact of Addiction in Rural America and What’s Being Done About It

The Devastating Impact of Addiction in Rural America and What’s Being Done About It
Note: The following is based on a story published in The Buzz, a publication of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) Recently, news stories have focused on how addiction is ravaging families and communities, particularly in rural areas. Around one in five Americans lives in a rural area, defined as a community with fewer than 2,500 people. Rural and urban communities both face the challenges of substance use, overdose, and the opioid epidemic. Although substance use rates in rural areas have kept pace with those in urban areas, rural communities seem to have been hit harder. For example, a recent statistic shows a greater increase in the proportion of babies born addicted to opioids in rural communities than in urban areas. Why do rural communities seem to be disproportionately affected by addiction? Rural communities have been especially affected in the past few years by rising rates of poverty...
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SAMHSA's 13th Annual Prevention Day is Monday February 6th

SAMHSA's 13th Annual Prevention Day is Monday February 6th
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will convene its 13th Annual Prevention Day on Monday, February 6, 2017, in conjunction with the CADCA’s National Leadership Forum. SAMHSA’s Prevention Day highlights “Power of Prevention: Strengthening Community Voices.” This exciting one-day event features dynamic speakers and informative training sessions for prevention practitioners, community leaders, researchers, and consumers in the behavioral health field sharing SAMHSA’s prevention priorities for the coming year and providing participants with the necessary training, technical assistance, and resources to successfully address prevention issues. Share your experiences and information with other SAMHSA grantees and partners, and build your program skills across a variety of prevention topics. Also, learn how to leverage your community’s efforts, tell your prevention story, and showcase the impact of your prevention programming on community health by getting involved in SAMHSA’s 2017 National Prevention Week. This annual health observance is dedicated to increasing public awareness...
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SAMHSA Report Shows Higher Rates of Substance Use & Mental Illness Among Sexual Minority Adults

SAMHSA Report Shows Higher Rates of Substance Use & Mental Illness Among Sexual Minority Adults
A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the first time uses data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) focuses on patterns of substance use and mental illness among adults (aged 18 and older) of different sexual orientations. Overall, the report finds that adults who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (sexual minority adults) have higher prevalence of substance use and mental illness than adults who identified themselves as heterosexual (sexual majority adults). However, sexual minority adults were significantly more likely than sexual majority adults to receive needed treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders. The report finds that 4.3 percent of the adult population, aged 18 or older, identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. It is important to note that the report does not address the behavioral health of transgender or questioning people because the NSDUH does not currently...
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Insurers Urged to Ensure Parity on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment

Insurers Urged to Ensure Parity on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment
Health insurance companies should do more to ensure parity for substance abuse and mental health treatment, members of a congressional subcommittee said at a recent hearing. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires larger employer-based insurance plans to cover psychiatric illnesses and substance use disorders in the same way they do illnesses, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, was passed in 2008 and went into effect for most plans in 2010. “Parity, the simple idea that substance use disorder and heart disease should be treated the same, is the law,” said Representative Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts at a hearing of the House Energy and Committee Subcommittee on Health. “But without proper enforcement and transparency, the law is little more than words. And that lack of enforcement and transparency has devastating consequences.” The Hill reports Kennedy is sponsoring legislation that would increase enforcement of existing parity regulations and improve...
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Teens Smoking and Drinking Less, Survey Finds

Teens Smoking and Drinking Less, Survey Finds
The rate of smoking and drinking is declining among American teens, a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds. Last year 9.6 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 said they used alcohol in 2015, compared with 17.6 percent in 2002, The New York Times reports. About 20 percent of teens said they smoked last year, compared with 32 percent in 2002. The survey also found that last year, one out of five adults in American met criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder, but only 3 percent of them received services. “These are potentially life-threatening, disabling conditions,” SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto said in a news release. “Our country must redouble its efforts to provide evidence-based prevention and treatment services in every community to ensure all Americans get the help and hope they need to lead healthy and productive lives.”
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Department of Defense to Increase Treatment for Substance Abuse, Mental Health

Department of Defense to Increase Treatment for Substance Abuse, Mental Health
TRICARE, which provides health coverage for active duty and retired service members, their families, and survivors, will expand treatment for substance abuse and mental health care. Almost 9.4 million people are covered under the program. TRICARE, which is run by the Department of Defense, will expand coverage of substance abuse treatment to include intensive outpatient programs for addiction and opioid use disorder. There will no longer be inpatient day limits for mental health care. Previously, adults were only covered for 30 days in inpatient mental health facilities. Children were covered for 45 days.
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Pediatricians Should Look for Risk Factors Linked to Teen Suicide

Pediatricians Should Look for Risk Factors Linked to Teen Suicide
Pediatricians should look for risk factors linked to teen suicide, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Risk factors include substance abuse, a history of physical or sexual abuse, mood disorders, being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and bullying, the group notes in new guidelines. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, the group notes. The guidelines were first published in 2007, and were updated this year. Ben Shain, lead author of the new guidelines, said teen suicide rates may have increased because of the stresses and anger levels caused by electronic media. They also may have risen because of a reluctance to use antidepressant medication, he said. USA Today notes the Food and Drug Administration required “black box warning” labels on antidepressants in 2004, which warn health care providers of increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior among children and teens who are taking the medication. The warnings led to...
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SPOTLIGHT: Buffalo, NY Affiliate’s Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp

SPOTLIGHT: Buffalo, NY Affiliate’s Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp
The Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) offers “Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp” (TLC), a fun, yet educational camp that provides interactive, hands-on experiences that will teach and enhance the leadership qualities of its young participants. TLC is an extension of community and school-based prevention programming and services that are provided to youth throughout Erie County. Summer camp provides an opportunity to continue to teach prosocial skills throughout the summer. Current research shows that substance abuse prevention is more effective when it is paired with education, social skills, decision making skills and refusal skills. Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp has developed its curriculum based on the current research along with evidence-based programs and is designed to address the needs of children ages 8 to 12 years old. TLC is a two-week program starting the last week of June. Realizing that many of the children have just completed school, the...
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Family Rejection May Raise Risk of Substance Abuse, Suicide in Transgender Individuals

Family Rejection May Raise Risk of Substance Abuse, Suicide in Transgender Individuals
Rejection by family members may increase the risk of substance abuse and suicide attempts in transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, a new study suggests. “People should understand that families matter,” researcher Sarit Golub of Hunter College and the Graduate Center of City University of New York told Reuters. “When people are rejected by their loved ones, it can have serious emotional and social consequences.” Past research has suggested that transgender people have increased risks for health problems, including substance abuse, suicide, depression and HIV, the article notes. Transgender individuals also face challenges including poverty, violence, incarceration and discrimination in employment, healthcare and housing, the researchers write in the journal LGBT Health. The new study analyzed data from 6,456 adults who participated in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey in 2008 and 2009. They were asked if they had ever abused drugs or alcohol to cope with transgender-related discrimination, or had ever attempted...
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NIH Releases Summary of Research on Early Childhood Risk and Protective Factors

NIH Releases Summary of Research on Early Childhood Risk and Protective Factors
An online guide about interventions in early childhood that can help prevent drug use and other unhealthy behaviors was launched by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The guide offers research-based principles that affect a child’s self-control and overall mental health, starting during pregnancy through the eighth year of life. It recognizes that while substance use generally begins during the teen years, it has known biological, psychological, social, and environmental roots that begin even before birth. "Thanks to more than three decades of research into what makes a young child able to cope with life’s inevitable stresses, we now have unique opportunities to intervene very early in life to prevent substance use disorders," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. "We now know that early intervention can set the stage for more positive self-regulation as children prepare for their school years." Principles of...
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