The latest news, trends and research on substance abuse and violence reduction


New study suggests cigarettes more addictive than ever

2014 – “This study indicates that cigarette manufacturers have recently altered the design of cigarettes. This can significantly increase the amount of nicotine a person receives while smoking,” said Thomas Land, PhD, director of the Office of Health Information Policy and Informatics for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and principal investigator for the study. Read more.

Heroin Problem Exploding in North Carolina

May 19, 2014 -RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) —  Janet Watrous and Bob Kochersberger never expected heroin addiction would land on their doorstep and shatter the all-American family they raised in their Raleigh neighborhood. Read more.

Behavioral Health Barometer: North Carolina

2014 – The first edition of the Behavioral Health Barometer: North Carolina, is one of a series of State and national reports that provide a snapshot of behavioral health in the United States. The reports present a set of substance use and mental health indicators as measured through data collection efforts sponsored by SAMHSA, including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services.

Juvenile Crime Stats, NC.

2013 – In North Carolina, if a youth is 15 years old or younger and commits a crime, his or her case will be brought to the attention of the juvenile justice staff within the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice. The division focuses on juvenile justice issues and at-risk youth in the state. In addition to the Annual Report, NCDPS-Juvenile Justices publishes data on youth served by county in the Annual County Data Book.

Trends in Substances of Abuse among Pregnant Women and Women of Childbearing Age in Treatment

July 2013 – Substance use during pregnancy may result in premature birth, miscarriage, and a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems in exposed children. According to data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), the proportion of female substance abuse treatment admissions aged 15 to 44 who were pregnant at treatment entry remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2010. (Read more)

Programs Help Mentally Ill Teens And Adults Improve Significantly

May 2013 – Community-based treatment programs help teens and young adults achieve positive outcomes in behavioral and emotional health, daily life skills, employment, and education, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Teens and young adults (ages 18 to 25) who had participated in these treatment programs supported by SAMHSA reported reduced levels of substance use disorders.

Twenty percent of young adults living in U.S. households had a mental health condition in the last year, and of these patients, over 1.3 million had a disorder so severe that their ability to function in daily life was jeopardized. (Read more)

One Fifth Of Suicidal Teens Have Access To Guns At Home

May 2013 – Around twenty percent of adolescents in the U.S. who are considered “suicidal” have guns in their homes, according to a recent study published at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC. In addition, the researchers revealed that 15 percent of those at risk of suicide know how to use the guns and the ammunition and have access to both.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, among young people between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death. Around half of teenage suicides are carried out using a firearm. (Read more)

Smokers Die Ten Years Earlier Than Non-smokers

May 2013 – It is important to know that, on average, smokers die twelve years sooner than non-smokers. Twelve years! That’s more than a decade! No other preventable cause of illness or death is more important than smoking. This is the clear message of two new studies that investigated the overall impact of smoking across a very large cohort of Americans.  (Read more)

Research Shows Early Dialogue Between Parents and Children Most Effective In Deterring Teen Tobacco, Alcohol Use

April 2013 – Early, substantive dialogue between parents and their grade-school age children about the ills of tobacco and alcohol use can be more powerful in shaping teen behavior than advertising, marketing or peer pressure, a University of Texas at Arlington marketing researcher has shown.  (Read more)

Nearly one in every four American teenagers drives under the influence, according to a study (survey) published by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

April 2013 – There are 23 million teenagers who are old enough to drive in the USA. If 23% of them admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or some other drug, this means millions of impaired youngsters driving on American roads within the next few months, the authors wrote.

Ninety-one percent of teens regard themselves as “safe” and “cautious” drivers. Surprisingly, many of them say that driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or other drugs is not a distraction or deterrent to their ability to drive properly. Forty percent of teenagers who say they have driven while under the influence of alcohol claim that alcohol either improved their driving or made no difference.  Maybe of more concern was that among teenagers who admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana, three-quarters (75%) felt that the drug either had no impact on their driving or improved it.   (Read more)

12th grade dropouts have higher rates of cigarette, alcohol and illicit drug use

Feb. 2013 – Youth in the 12th grade age range (ages 16 to 18) who have dropped out of school prior to graduating are more likely than their counterparts to be current users of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and other  illicit drugs, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report considers those who reported use in the past month to be current users. For example, dropouts in this age group are more than twice as likely to be current smokers as youth continuing with their education (56.8 percent versus 22.4 percent).  The report also shows significant differences between the levels of illicit drug use between dropouts and those remaining in school.    (Read more)

Reports Show Fewer Adolescents Getting Substance Abuse Prevention Messaging

Feb. 2013 – New reports by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) find that overall, from 2002 to 2011, the percentage of teens receiving substance abuse prevention messages in the past year from media fell significantly – from 83.2 percent in 2002 to 75.1 percent in 2011. School-based prevention messaging also dropped – from 78.8 percent in 2002 to 74.5 percent in 2011. The report also finds that roughly 40 percent of adolescents did not talk with their parents in the past year about the dangers of substance use.

A companion SAMHSA report also shows that adolescent attitudes about the risk of substances like alcohol and marijuana have changed significantly from 2002 to 2011, as have their patterns of use of these substances.  (Read more)

Increasing Minimum Alcohol Price Can Lead to Drop in Drink-Related Deaths

Feb. 2013 – Deaths caused by alcohol drop when minimum alcohol prices increase, a new study finds. Researchers in British Columbia found boosting the price of the cheapest alcohol by 10 percent led to a 32 percent drop in the drinking-related death rate, Reuters reports.    (Read more)

NIH Study Finds Missed Opportunities For Underage Alcohol Screening

Feb. 2013 – In a random survey of more than 2,500 10th grade students with an average age of 16 years, researchers from NIAAA and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that 34 percent reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Twenty-six percent said they had binged, defined as five or more drinks per occasion for males, and four or more for females. Physicians often fail to ask high school-aged patients about alcohol use and to advise young people to reduce or stop drinking, according to a study led by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.    (Read more)

Marijuana Found to Increase Stroke Risk in Young Adults

Feb. 2013 – Recent research from Duke University in Durham, N.C., found teenagers who smoked marijuana habitually during their adolescence showed a decrease in their general intellectual ability as they progressed into adulthood. But now, there is an even more chilling possible side effect of cannabis use – an increased risk of stroke, Fox news reports.  (Read more)

Study Links Lower Drinking Age With Increased Risk of Binge Drinking

Feb. 2013 – The ability to legally buy alcohol before age 21 is associated with an increased risk of binge drinking later in life, a new study suggests. The study included more than 39,000 people who started drinking in the 1970s, when some states allowed people as young as 18 to purchase alcohol.  (Read more)

Marijuana IQ Study Successfully Defended by Scientists

Feb. 2013 – A highly-publicized study finding that marijuana use is linked to a severe drop in IQ has been successfully defended by the scientific community overseas and in the United States, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow.

The original study, published last August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dr. Madeline Meier of Duke University, and colleagues, was the strongest evidence yet that teen use of cannabis could cause a drop in IQ. Opponents of the study claimed that socio-economic factors are to blame.  (Read more)