My opinion on SAMHSA Report: Good and Bad News on Drug Use in America
Heroin (diacetylmorphine/diamorphine) use likely rose in all age groups except children because doctors aren't treating pain anymore.
If you have CIPN (Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy) or other IP (intractable pain), and cannabis doesn't help you and medications like Actiq, Duragesic, oxycodone/OxyContin/OxyIR/Roxicodone, oxymorphone/Opana, hydromorphone/Dilaudid/Exalgo, and morphine are no longer available, what choice do you have? For many, it's diamorphine or die. Untreated IP kills.
Thanks to the lack of access, many pain patients have had to make such troublesome decisions.
Even the increase in cannabis use can surely be linked to expanded medicinal use as more states come to their senses and legalize and also more pain patients are switching to cannabis as opioid medications are vilified by the media and made next to impossible to acquire.
Luckily, binge drinking and DUI have both decreased, although DUI has only decreased mildly.
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SAMHSA Report: Good and Bad News on Drug Use in America
Sep 05, 2013
The newly released 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) contains both good and bad news this year, especially with regard to adolescents and teens.
Rates of binge drinking and heavy drinking in the previous month continued to decrease in those between the ages of 12 and 17 years, although the rates of driving under the influence of alcohol by teens in 2012 were comparable to the rates found in 2011 (11.2% vs 11.1%, respectively). The rates were significantly lower, though, than the high of 14.2% in 2002.
In addition, use of tobacco products continued to drop for this age group, as did the rates of overall substance dependence or abuse.
Although the rate of marijuana use rose in almost every age group, and was up from 5.8% of all Americans in 2007 to 7.3% in 2012, use of this substance dropped slightly for those aged 12 to 17 years.
However, use of heroin by all individuals older than 12 years rose dramatically during the past 5 years, from 373,000 users in 2007 to 669,000 users in 2012.
"These findings show that while we have made progress in preventing some aspects of substance abuse, we must redouble our efforts to reduce and eliminate all forms of it throughout our nation," said SAMSHA administrator Pamela S. Hyde in a release.
"Reducing the impact of drug use and its consequences on our nation requires a robust public health response coupled with smart-on-crime strategies that protect public safety," added Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in the same release
The National Survey was released at a press conference on September 4 in observance of the 24th annual National Recovery Month.
"Making a Difference"
"The annual survey is the largest of its kind and is the government's primary vehicle for determining how many persons are using illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as how many are misusing pharmaceuticals," reports SAMHSA.
The NSDUH had approximately 70,000 participants throughout the United States.
It showed similar, although slightly increased, rates between 2012 and 2011 of past-month nonmedical use of prescription medications by individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 years (5.3% vs 5.0%, respectively). Both rates were significantly lower than the 6.4% found in 2009.
"For the first time in a decade, we are seeing real reductions in the abuse of prescription drugs in America, proving that a more comprehensive response to our drug problem can make a real difference in making our nation healthier and safer," said Kerlikowske.
Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug in 2012, just as it was in 2011, with 18.9 million past-month users. Still, the rate of use dropped from 7.9% in 2011 to 7.2% in 2012 for those between the ages of 12 and 17 years.
Although the overall use of illicit drugs by persons older than 11 years "remained stable" between 2011 and 2012, the NSDUH reports that 23.9 million Americans used illegal substances last year.
More Needs to be Done
The report was a little sunnier when it came to tobacco use in the 12- to 17-year-olds. The rate of use was 8.6% in 2012 compared with 10% in 2011, and was significantly lower than the 15.2% rate found in 2002.
In addition, this age group showed a drop in past-month overall use of illicit drugs, with a 9.5% rate in 2012 and a 10.1% rate in 2011, as well as small drops in the specific use of hallucinogens and inhalants.
Not so rosy is the report that "many American needing treatment for a substance use disorder are still not receiving specialty treatment." In other words, 2.5 million Americans older than 11 years received specialized treatment in 2012 ― but more than 23 million needed it.
The most common reason given for not seeking treatment was having no health coverage because of cost, followed by not being ready to stop using substances and current health plan not covering treatment and/or costs.
"These statistics represent real people, families, and communities dealing with devastating consequences of abuse and addiction. We must strive to prevent further abuse and provide the hope of treatment and recovery to all people needing help," said Hyde.
"Expanding prevention, treatment, and support…will be our guide as we work to address emerging challenges, including the recent uptick in heroin use shown in this survey," added Kerlikowske.
The complete survey findings are located on the SAMHSA Web site .