Monthly Archives: July 2011
|July 27, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Drug and Alcohol, Federal Government||
New state-level trend data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on behavioral health and substance use indicate drug use may be declining nationally while rates of alcohol use have increased in some groups. Although rates differ across age groups and items, all states experience mental health and substance use and abuse issues. Data such as these assist states in identifying the most prevalent needs of their residents, planning treatment services and prevention strategies and utilizing funding in a more efficient manner.
Findings from the report, State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, include,
- Current drug use reported by persons ages 12 and over decreased in every state of the nation between the 2002-03 and the 2008-09 data collection years; however, the rate of drug use within the past month increased to 8.4 percent of the total population of the United States (over age 12).
- Past month alcohol use among those 12 and over increased from 50.5 percent to 51.8 percent nationally. This particular rate also rose in 11 states, including Pennsylvania.
- Nationally, 18-25 years olds have the highest rate of any mental illness in the past year (30.5 percent). The rate for persons 18 and older is just under 20 percent (19.7).
- Over 8 percent (8.2) of American youth ages 12-17 reported depression in the past year. The rate for youth in Pennsylvania was 6.8 percent.
For the complete report visit http://www.oas.samhsa.gov.
Report Citation: State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH Series H-40, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4641. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011.
|July 24, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Education, Program Model, Research|
Shootings and other violent occurrences on high school campuses, combined with the related pressure from parents and communities to prevent such activities from happening in their schools, have lead to increasingly severe zero tolerance policies. While the protection of students, administration and staff is of utmost importance, there is little evidence on how well the zero tolerance approach (the blanket application of punitive measures for rule breaking regardless of circumstance) operates in practice. In fact, a recent brief suggests that there is not much scientific research on the effectiveness of such policies at all.
In the brief from Child Trends, entitled Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives To Zero Tolerance, authors Christopher Boccanfuso and Megan Kuhfeld posit that while zero tolerance policies are widespread in America, they are actually doing little to deter bullying, use of illegal substances and even violent behavior. In some regions, reports of misbehavior in school have increased since the implementation of zero tolerance policies. Reports also indicated that zero tolerance policies were found to be used in many cases for non-violent infractions and may have been applied to some groups of students in a disproportionate manner. Finally, the authors point to studies that have linked severe punishments (such as expulsion) to further negative outcomes, possibly worse than the offending behavior itself, to suggest that this approach may not be the most useful or efficient in addressing bad behavior.
Alternatives to zero tolerance policies, including effective nonpunitive programs targeted at troubled students, are listed and discussed in the brief. The complete brief is available at the Child Trends website.
|July 15, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Budget, Policy||
A thorough postmortem of the 2011-12 budget has been released by the nonpartisan Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. A breakdown of the budget items with expert analysis is available in brief, chart and report form.
Highlights from the finalized budget that might have an impact on human and social service nonprofits:
- Reductions in funding to homeless services, shelters and housing programs.
- Funds to school districts were reduced or eliminated (such as the charter school reimbursements). Grades pre-kindergarten through twelve experienced a 586 million dollar decease in spending.
- Both job training programs (one cut by 48 percent) and child care related to welfare-to-work programs for mothers (9 percent) had their funding decreased.
- Funding for services for people with disabilities was reduced by 8.5 million dollars.
- The funding line for county-based behavioral health managed care programs was not reduced in the Governor’s 2011-12 budget.
- Although funding for law enforcement and corrections was increased, the grant for the Pennsylvania Commission of Crime and Delinquency was reduced by 6 percent.
You will find timely news and excellent analysis on the state’s policy and budget issues at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center – a valuable site to bookmark!.