Some forms of substance use, such as adolescent (aged 12 to 17) underage drinking and alcohol use among young adults (aged 18 to 25), continued to drop according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest (2015) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report released this month. Other substance use levels among youth and young adults, including marijuana and heroin use, remained relatively stable over the past few years. The report also finds that mental illness levels among adults aged 26 and older generally remain steady, but there is a slight rise in the levels of major depressive episodes among adolescents and young adults.
“These findings offer hope that marijuana and heroin use may be slowing down,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto. “And more American youth are rejecting alcohol and tobacco. This is great progress. But our nation still faces a public health crisis of untreated mental and substance use disorders. In 2015, one out of five adults in America met criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder and only 39 percent of them received services. These are potentially life-threatening, disabling conditions. 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.”
“We know that evidence-based prevention efforts are the most effective way to reduce drug use and to support the roughly 90 percent of American youth who do not use illicit drugs,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “However the data also show that too many people don’t get the treatment they need for their substance use disorders. That is why the President has repeatedly called for $1.1 billion in new funding for States to expand access to treatment. Every day that passes without Congressional action to provide these additional resources is a missed opportunity to save lives.”
The report shows that there continues to be a significant treatment gap for mental and substance use disorders. For example in 2015, an estimated 21.7 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment, but only 2.3 million received treatment at a specialty facility. The President’s Budget called for $1.1 billion in new funding to expand access to treatment to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/29/white-house-releases-estimated-state-opioid-treatment-funding-levels). At this time, Congress has not provided this funding.
The Report features more comprehensive information on prescription psychotherapeutic medications including tranquilizers, stimulants, sedatives and pain relievers (including those containing opioids). This report shows that among people aged 12 and older 6.4 million people currently (in the past month) misuse psychotherapeutic medications. About three-fifths (59.3 percent) of this current misuse consists of the 3.8 million people currently misusing prescription pain relievers. The report also shows that most people who used prescription drugs in the past year did not misuse them. In fact, 84.1 percent of them did not misuse prescription drugs even once in the past year.
The complete findings for both of the NSDUH reports issued this month are available on the SAMHSA web site or via the links below. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015.htm. Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm
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