|July 30, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Drug and Alcohol, Research|
Early alcohol and drug prevention efforts and enhanced treatment options for youth may play a key role in reducing the likelihood of future substance abuse according to a new brief from SAMHSA. The report, Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18-to-30, presents data that suggest the age of first drug use is associated with need for treatment later in life; specifically, persons reporting an earlier age of initiation were 1) more likely to be admitted to treatment and 2) abuse multiple substances. In 2011, nearly three-quarters of the 18-to-30 year olds admitted for substance abuse treatment began using when under the age of 17, 34 percent between the ages of 15-17, 30 percent between the ages of 12-14, and 10 percent at age 11 and under. Of those who began using substances at age 11 or younger, 78 percent reported abusing at least two substances at the time of intake.
Other interesting takeaways from the report:
- 63 percent of treatment admissions of people 18 to 30 years old were male, and males were more likely than females to start using substances at earlier ages
- Among those reporting first drug use at 11 or younger, marijuana and alcohol were the most commonly used substances
- Among those reporting first drug use at age 25 or over, heroin and prescription pain medication were the most commonly used substances
- Nearly 39 percent of the persons admitted to treatment whom first used a substance at age 11 or younger reported a co-occurring mental disorder – the highest rate of any of the age groups
As the age of first use of drugs or alcohol increases, the number of substances abused at time of admission to addiction treatment declines. The authors also note that adolescents can grow into habitual abuse of alcohol and drugs within three years of initiation. These data indicate the need for continuous but targeted preventative interventions with elementary-to-middle-school-age students. For example, the risk factors for young children are usually related to the family, whereas adolescents may experience ongoing pressure from peers who use illegal substances, so strategies to address these factors while building up protective factors will also vary.
Information on drug prevention programs and resource guides for parents and teachers are available at the SAMHSA website.
Report Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (July 17, 2014).The TEDS Report: Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18 to 30. Rockville, MD.
|July 11, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Elderly, Health, Policy, Research|
The number of senior citizens considered food insecure increased by 49 percent between 2007 and 2012 according to a study from The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH). Using the Three Core Food Security Module to measure risk, study authors Dr. James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky and Dr. Craig G. Gundersen of the University of Illinois found that over 9 million American senior citizens were food insecure, and threat of hunger rates for all senior groups (ages 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80+) were higher in 2012 than 2007, even though the recession had ended. The majority of seniors facing threat of hunger due to food insecurity were white with incomes above the poverty line, but both African American and Hispanic seniors were at a higher risk of hunger than whites. Over one-third (35%) had at least one grandchild living with them.
The State of Senior Hunger in America 2012: An Annual Report also ranks states by senior hunger threat, with Arkansas (25.44), Louisiana (23.56), and Mississippi (22.67) having the highest rates in the nation. In 2012, Pennsylvania had a rate of 12.93, down approximately 15 percent from 2011. The NFESH has numerous reports on the threat and consequences of senior hunger at their website.
Food insecurity among seniors may be related to income, neighborhood safety and walkability, and individual physical and mental health, but regardless of the reasons why, the consequences are poor health and a deficit of needed nutrients. As the Baby Boomers age, it’s likely that we will hear more about senior hunger as a top public health issue.
Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)
|May 16, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Health, Research, Youth Development||
Between 2001 and 2011, over 2.2 million American service members were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although it is not unusual for military families to experience some stress when a loved one is deployed, studies have found that children with a deployed parent are at risk for higher levels anxiety, poorer academic performance, and drug and/or alcohol use than their peers. Now, research from the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research at the University of San Diego, in partnership with Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, indicates that children of returning wounded service members face additional challenges that may impact their development.
Through extensive interviews with wounded servicemen and women and their families, researchers identified several themes:
- Invisible wounds. Children with parents diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with their visible wounds reported increased anger and an overall lack of understanding of the changes in their parent. Youth tended to adapt quicker to tangible wounds and the special care they required.
- Losing both parents. Attention was diverted from children in the family to the newly returned wounded parent, with older children taking on the adult role of providing emotional support and care to siblings and/or the non-injured parent.
- Too much or too little information. Lack of communication with children around the reality of the returning parent’s injuries caused distress. For adults, ill-timed “information dumps” on resources/programs that occurred too early in the reunification process were overwhelming and often not helpful.
- Isolation. Families transitioning from the military to a civilian community with a seriously wounded family member reported feeling isolated, cut off from those who might best understand their experience.
To better meet these needs, the study authors recommend the development or expansion of programs that help families build long term resiliency, as well as youth mentoring and peer-to-peer social support for children.
If you are interested in reading more about the challenges faced by wounded service members and their families, RAND has an exceptional series of reports and presentations from their Military Caregiver Study available at their website.
Report Citation: Schumann, M.J., Nash Cameron, E., Deitrick, L., Reed, G., and Doroliat, D. (2014). Study on Children of Seriously Wounded Service Members. San Diego, CA: Caster Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research, University of San Diego.
|March 31, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Federal Government, Policy, Research||
Just over 4 percent of Pennsylvania adults reported experiencing severe mental illness in the past year, while approximately 18 percent reported any mental illness during the same time period, according to the new brief from SAMHSA, State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness for the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. The report contains data from over 92,000 adults in the United States who participated in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health in 2011 and 2012. The rate in Pennsylvania has increased only incrementally since the 2008 and 2009 report, when 3.5 percent of adults in Pennsylvania reported a severe mental illness in the past year, while 17.7 percent reported any mental illness.
In the 2011, 2012 report, West Virginia had the highest rate of severe mental illness (5.5 percent) reported among adults, as well as the highest rate of any mental illness among adults, 21.4 percent. There does not seem to be any regional correlation to rates of mental illness, as states with high and low rates of both severe mental illness and any mental illness are located in all regions of the country. However, these data can assist in examining connections between mental health and other health issues at the state level, such as the link between mental illness and non-response to traditional anti-smoking interventions, hopefully leading to similar innovative approaches to public policy.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (February 28, 2014). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness from the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (October 6, 2011). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness. Rockville, MD.