Blog: SAMHSA

Teens More Likely to Try Substances During Summer

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a government sponsored study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that teens were more like to try new substances for the first time during June and July. The study surveyed teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who reported trying a new substance within the previous year.
The average daily rates for first-time alcohol use range from 5,000-8,000 and 3,000- 4,000 for first-time cigarette and marijuana use. On an average day in June and July, first time alcohol users alone can reach up to approximately 11,000. In addition, during those two summer months, an average of 4,500 young adults sample cigarettes for the first time and 5,000 teens begin using marijuana.
While there are several possible reasons as to why this jump in first-time substance users occurs in the summer, the most likely are that adolescents have a sudden increase in their free time as well as less adult supervision and responsibilities that are present during the school year.

Positive Adult Role Models Central to Teens’ Success in Juvenile Justice System and Beyond, says Report

A report released on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day details the extent to which traumatic events impact children and young people involved in the juvenile justice system. In addition, the report points out the importance of children and teens developing close relationships with caring adults soon after entering the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
"Promoting Recovery and Resilience for Children and Youth Involved in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems,” examines the positive impact that the Children's Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) has had with children and youth by creating a “trauma-informed workforce.” Trauma-informed workplaces collaborate “to develop, implement, [and] evaluate effective trauma treatment and services. In addition, [they partner] with other community agencies to promote service delivery approaches so that trauma services are effectively implemented within local child-serving community service systems.”
Despite the fact that it’s possible for some young people to experience traumatic events and come out virtually unscathed, studies show that victimization can often lead to life changing consequences and result in a multitude of issues later in life. According to an NCTSN study, children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events are at increased risk of being arrested in the future. In some cases, young adults who have experienced traumatic events are as much as five times more likely to go through the juvenile justice system.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters. During PTSD Awareness Month in June, and throughout the year, we recognize the millions of Americans who experience this challenging and debilitating condition.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. PTSD may result in sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams about the trauma, intense reactions to reminders of the trauma, disturbances in relationships, and isolation. Some people may recover a few months after the event, but for others it may take years. For some, PTSD may begin long after the events occur.
PTSD can be treated. Effective treatments are available, such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and approved medications. Many people with PTSD also benefit from peer support.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD), are supporting new research to reveal the underlying causes of PTSD and related conditions, develop better tools to identify those at highest risk of developing the disorder, and develop new and better treatments and preventive interventions. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law, HHS is partnering with DOD and the VA to share our best ideas on how to improve the quality of health care for veterans and all Americans.

SAMHSA Releases New Toolkit on Suicide Prevention in High Schools

Suicide is one of the nation’s greatest public health problems – but it is also completely preventable. If all of us work together in an effort to reach out and help those at risk we can prevent the needless devastation suicide brings to individuals, loved ones and communities across the nation.
In order to provide practical help in this effort the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed a new toolkit entitled Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools. The toolkit aims at reducing the risk of suicide among high school students by providing research-based guidelines and resources to assist school administrators, principals, mental health professionals, health educators, guidance counselors, nurses, student services coordinators, teachers and others identify teenagers at risk and take appropriate measures to provide help.
The tool kit offers information on screening tools, warning signs and risk factors of suicide, statistics, and parent education materials.

Sneak Peek: Road to Recovery Partners with Young People

I've just seen a sneak peak of Recovery Month's "Road to Recovery: Partnering with Youth and Young Adults in Behavioral Health to Live Happy, Healthy and Productive Lives" and wanted to share it with you! In the clip, host Ivette Torres (Associate Director for Consumer Affairs, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment) speaks with experts and young people about teens in recovery.

 

May 9: Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

On May 9, 2012, the OJJDP and SAMHSA will observe National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day to promote recovery and resilience for young people in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The two agencies will support efforts to help the public recognize signs of chlid trauma, promote treatment for children's traumatic experiences and promote trauma-informed social services and supports. 
Why is this important?
As we learned at this year's JMATE conference, childhood mental health problems increase the risk of substance use and addiction (because many teens are self-medicating) and substance use increases the risk of developing mental health problems. Trauma (especially when experienced at a young age) severely affects a child's ability to cope and affects brain size (NOT intelligence). And 92% of incarcerated kids have experienced one or more traumas during their childhood.
To learn more about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day and to plan an activity, visit www.samhsa.gov/children.

2011's top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse

Here are our top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse from 2011:

#10. School Superintendent to Governor: Please make my school a prison
A Michigan public school superintendent asked the state's Governor to classify his school as a prison in order to receive additional funding for his students.
#9. School-to-prison pipeline: Why school discipline is the key (video) and what to do about it
We took a look at school disciplinary policies and Connecticut's efforts to disrupt the pipeline and educate its kids.
#8. House Appropriations Committee eliminates most juvenile justice funding
John Kelly took a look at a bill before the House of Representatives that would eliminate most federal spending for juvenile justice activities. 
#7. SAMHSA changes substance abuse and mental health block grants - your comments (still) needed!
SAMHSA revamped its block grant applications for substance abuse and mental health treatment and asked for comments on proposed changes.
#6. Adolescent substance abuse: "bath salts" an emerging risk
We warned about the emerging use of "bath salts" as stimulants and the DEA's reaction against them.

Stay tuned for the TOP FIVE stories of 2011! And in case you missed them, and check out the top 20 and top 15.

2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data available

Those interested in drug/alcohol/tobacco use statistics should head over to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to download the data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
For those less inclined to analyze the data, SAMSHA also released a report (PDF) summarizing the findings, which include:

  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the current illicit drug use rate was similar in 2009 (10.0 percent) and 2010 (10.1 percent), but higher than the rate in 2008 (9.3 percent). Between 2002 and 2008, the rate declined from 11.6 to 9.3 percent.
  • The rate of current alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 13.6 percent in 2010, which was lower than the 2009 rate (14.7 percent). Youth binge and heavy drinking rates in 2010 (7.8 and 1.7 percent) were also lower than rates in 2009 (8.8 and 2.1 percent).
  • There were an estimated 10.0 million underage (aged 12 to 20) drinkers in 2010, including 6.5 million binge drinkers and 2.0 million heavy drinkers.
  • The rate of past month tobacco use among 12 to 17 year olds declined from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 10.7 percent in 2010, including a decline from 2009 (11.6 percent) to 2010.
  • Almost half (48.6 percent) of youths aged 12 to 17 reported in 2010 that it would be "fairly easy" or "very easy" for them to obtain marijuana if they wanted some. Approximately one in five reported it would be easy to get cocaine (19.0 percent). About one in seven (12.9 percent) indicated that LSD would be "fairly" or "very" easily available, and 11.6 percent reported easy availability for heroin. Between 2002 and 2010, there were declines in the perceived availability for all four drugs.

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