Time between drug use and treatment entry averages 15.6 years.
Read more about a new report from SAMHSA. The study, based on 669,000 adults, found gender differences as well as those for alcohol use (longest), prescription pain medications (shortest). ... []
From community mental health to substance abuse treatment: bridging treatment cultures
Dr. David Moltz describes how his work with opiod dependent clients incorporated approaches from his successful career in community psychiatry. Read more about the practical solutions he introduced to substance abuse treatment. []
Teen drug use fluctuates, says NIDA
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the University of MIchigan released a report on drug use among adolescents indicating slight changes for most drugs. []
Mental health professionals needed by military
Despite dramatic need, evidenced by suicide rates and a rise in substance abuse, the armed services remain short staffed, according to Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli. []
Thought parity was a done deal?
. . .Think again []
Deaths from suicide and substance use during arrest
More than one in five deaths during arrest were caused by suicide, alcohol, or substance use, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. []
Integratating mental health and substance use in reform
To make sure that mental health and substance use disorders are incorporated in on-going health reform debates, the Whole Health Campaign provides policy briefs with recommendations. []
Stabenow introduces bill (S1136) to close treatment gap
Michigan's Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) introduced a bill to open the door for seriously mentally ill people, now receiving Medicaid, to get comprehensive care in 10 participating states. The Mental Illness Chronic Care Improvement Act (S 1136) is a demonstration program with the potential to close a treatment gap by linking to primary care. Diabetes and heart disease are among the chronic conditions afflicting people with a mental illness and shortening life and Stabenow's proposal recognizes the existing system has... []
When there is a dual diagnosis, mood disorders are most likely to be associated with substance use disorders.
Read more about dual disorders from AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).... []
Cannabis and schizophrenia
Evidence indicates a relationship between marijuana use and later schizophrenia. Should this be a factor in debates about legalizing marijuana?(online surveys) Smoking marijuana (cannabis), an icon of the bandana-wearing flower-child generation, is a subject of ongoing medical debate and a ballot measure in many states. Is cannabis use harmless recreation, a medical necessity for end-of-life pain, or a disorder contributing to psychosis and associated with schizophrenia? Perhaps all three? It is the latter question that engaged a team of... []
Economic downturn affects mental health
Experts are expecting an increase in anxiety, depresssion, substance abuse, and suicide as a result of the stress caused by the economic downturn. SAMHSA, the federal agency concerned with substance abuse and mental health services issued a guide with warning signs, suggestions for managing stress, and resources for follow up.... []
Mental illness does not predict violence
A new study concludes that mental illness alone does not predict violence. For the past two decades, debate about a putative link between mental illness and violence has been heated with implications for policy, treatment and legal decisions. The authors of this study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, interviewed 34,500 people in a national sample who were diagnosed with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and major depression. Their findings, based on interviews roughly 3 years apart, indicate that of the numerous... []
Overall costs of substance abuse and addiction exceeds $500 billion.
Read more from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.... []
Senate hearings on prevention and wellness
Congressional hearings were held last week to address prevention and wellness as the cornerstone to health reform. Bill Emmet, Campaign for Mental Health Reform, explained how mental health and substance use disorders are intertwined with preventable chronic illnesses contributing to loss of productivity and a shorter life expectancy (averaging 25 years). Emmet said: People with mental illnesses are uninsured at twice the rate of the general population: 34% of people with mental illness have no health coverage at this point.... []
Treatments lag for substance use
Research appearing in the January 2009 issue of Psychiatric Services indicates fewer parents in the child welfare system are offered treatment for substance use if they do not also have a mental illness. At the same time, writes Benedict Carey in the New York Times, it is estimated that "20 million Americans who could benefit from treatment do not get it." A lack of uniformity about models for rehab and recovery has contributed to a recognition that evidence does not... []
Recognizing a dual diagnosis
National Public Radio reporter Farai Chideya explored difficulties people have recognizing co-occurring substance abuse and a psychiatric disorders, and then of finding appropriate treatment that does not ignore one component of this tricky but common condition. In a 10-minute interview, she spoke with a consumer, now in recovery, who has become a peer counselor in a Los Angeles program, and Dr. Robert Drake, a psychiatrist at Dartmouth Medical School.... []
Facing deficits, states cut health budgets
Numerous states have announced cuts to mental health programs, many of which are funded by Medicaid. Maine is asking for a $25 enrollment fee, Florida froze rates to nursing homes, and California reduced its reimbursement rate for a 15-minute physician visit to $21.60, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Earlier this week New York cut local assistance by six percent, a blow to funding which has been the "lifeblood for many individuals with psychiatric disabilities in the community," said the Mental... []
Substance use highest in US
A recent survey of 17 countries by the World Health Organization found the United States ranked highest for drug and alcohol use. Roughly 16 percent of those surveyed had tried cocaine, about four times higher than the next country which was New Zealand. Slightly moer than four out of 10 people had tried marijuana in both countries. The survey consisted of 54,068 people.... []
House holds on Medicare
By an overwhelming vote of 355 to 59 the House passed a bill (H.R. 6331) stopping cuts to Medicare's physician providers and ended the historic discrimination in co-payments for mental health services. Getting this measure through Congress by July 1 has been a priority of the Democrats and has had the broad support of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association. Sen. Harry Reid promised the Senate will act swiftly. A second House initiative relevant to mental health... []
H.R. 4053
Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) introduced the Mental Health Improvements Act of 2007 on Oct. 31, 2007, “To improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes.” []
S. 2162
Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hi) introduced the Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 on October 14, 2007: "To improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes." []
Senate bill expands treatment for vets
A Senate bill (S. 2162) to plug holes for vets with substance abuse disorders and PTSD was passed Tuesday by unanimous consent in the Senate. Problems resulting from the Iraq war have increased for soldiers and their families due to longer and multiple deployments, and insufficient treatment staff. Roughly 1,000 vets a month now attempt suicide. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, said, “For too many veterans, returning home from battle will not... []
H.R. 5554
Rep. Michael Michaud introduced the Justin Bailey Veterans Substance Use Disorders Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008 on March 5, 2008: “To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand and improve health care services available to veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs for substance use disorders, and for other purposes.” []
Treating vets' substance abuse
Congressional hearings focused attention on veterans' health and several pending bills. Last month, Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Me) introduced a bill (H.R. 5554) requiring all VA medical centers to provide the full spectrum of care for substance use disorders. A survey of 2007 indicated that more than 7 percent of all vets met criteria for substance use disorder, and last year, 25 percent of those between 18 and 25 met them. To follow H.R. 5554 through the House of Representatives, click... []

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