News & Announcements
Binge Drinking: Nationwide Problem, Local Solutions
Posted: January 20, 2012
Binge drinking accounts for more than half of the estimated 80,000 average annual deaths and three quarters of $223.5 billion in economic costs resulting from excessive alcohol consumption in the United States. CDC analyzed data collected in 2010 on the prevalence of binge drinking (defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on an occasion during the past 30 days) among U.S. adults aged ≥18 years in 48 states and the District of Columbia; and on the frequency (average number of episodes per month) and intensity (average largest number of drinks consumed on occasion) among binge drinkers.
Everyone can help prevent binge drinking.
States and communities can:
Doctors, nurses, and other providers can:
Download the CDC factsheet on Binge Drinking (pdf). Read the CDC Report Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Prevalence, Frequency, and Intensity Among Adults — United States, 2010.
Geographic & Sociodemographic Patterns in Prevalence of Mental Health Conditions Among Children
Posted: January 19, 2012
In a study titled Mental Health Conditions Among School-Aged Children: Geographic and Sociodemographic Patterns in Prevalence and Treatment the authors have provided state-level estimates of the prevalence of diagnosed pediatric emotional and behavioral mental health conditions and treatment received by children and adolescents ages 6-17 with these diagnoses. "Our results show significant variation in the prevalence of diagnosed mental health conditions among children and youth by state of residence in addition to documented sociodemographic and health-related factors. In contrast, receipt of treatment was more strongly related to socioeconomic and health-related factors," write the authors of an article published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The prevalence of mental health conditions and potential for both long-term and widespread negative impacts underscore the importance of early identification and treatment. Identifying variations in the prevalence of diagnosed mental health conditions and the receipt of treatment among this population may help to illustrate disparities and to highlight examples where policies and systems could better support both identification and treatment of children and adolescents with mental health problems.
Data for the study came from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health. Mental health conditions were identified using parents' responses to three questions about whether a doctor or health professional had ever told them that their child had depression, anxiety problems, or behavioral or conduct problems. Receipt of treatment was determined by parents' report of whether their child had received any treatment or counseling from a mental health professional in the past 12 months. Although state of residence was the primary covariate of interest, seven sociodemographic and health-related variables shown to be associated with mental health conditions and access to treatment in previous research were also assessed: child's or adolescent's sex, age, race and ethnicity, poverty status, insurance type, health status, and maternal health status.
The authors found that
The authors conclude that "further research at both the state and national levels is needed to determine how different approaches to the provision and financing of mental health services may affect both the prevalence of diagnosis and access to treatment for these conditions."
Read the abstract of the study.
Younger Americans’ Health Disparity Gets Worse
Posted: January 18, 2012
According to a new study titled Variance Function Regression in Hierarchical Age-Period-Cohort Models - Applications to the Study of Self-Reported Health, the gap between the least and the most healthy is widening for Americans born after 1980. While the baby boom generation has consistently reported better health than any other generation, today’s young adults are expected to be less healthy as they age. According to Ohio State University researcher Hui Zheng, today’s young adults are projected to experience growing health disparities in their lifetimes. “As young people today reach middle age and preceding cohorts with a smaller health gap die off, we expect health disparities in the whole population to grow even larger,” said Zheng. The Ohio State study used data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1984-2007 to investigate how the health gap varies by age and cohort.
According to Zheng, indicators of health have been on the decline for more than decade, despite advances in medicine and technology. Future research is necessary to pinpoint factors contributing to the increased health gap among younger generations and to identify potential solutions.
Cultural Competency in Mental Health Peer-run Programs and Self-help Groups
Posted: January 17, 2012
The Cultural Competency in Mental Health: Peer-run Programs and Self-help Groups is a resource by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) STAR Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago was created to help mental health, consumer operated programs and self-help groups assess their own cultural competency. By using it, you’ll identify the ways in which your activities are already responsive to culturally diverse peers and areas where you could use some improvement. You’ll also create specific action plans to enhance your cultural competency in five important areas. This tool is structured around five focus areas - Administration, Policies and Guidelines, Peer Providers and Group Leaders, Services and Supports, Program or Group Environment, Communication and Language Capacity. For each of the five focus areas, you will:
Addiction Discriminates? What That Means in Today’s Troubled Economy
Posted: January 16, 2012
For decades now, addiction has been branded “an equal opportunity disease.” And judging from the largely white, middle-class people who populate most AA meetings and rehabs, it is. But while no sector of society is immune from substance abuse, addiction does discriminate. Examples abound: "drug problems" among college grads is nearly a third lower than those for high school dropouts, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Health. Unemployed people are twice as likely to be addicts as people with jobs. With America facing the greatest income gap since the Great Depression, the largely unpublicized link between financial inequality and drug addiction suggests big trouble ahead.
Of course, the causal connection between poverty and substance use runs both ways. People who are suffering from alcohol or drug problems are obviously more likely to drop out of school or lose their jobs, while those who don't have the education and skills to find a job in this fast-changing, increasingly high-tech economy not only increase face increased odds of addiction but also dramatically lower odds of recovery.
Americans earning less than $20,000 a year are half as likely to successfully quit smoking—and nearly one third less likely to end a cocaine addiction—than those making $70,000 a year or more. Addiction is disproportionately concentrated among the poor, and, consequently, among blacks and Hispanics. If we continue to ignore the special role that the lack of education and employment play in fermenting the growing drug problem, we are likely to leave them out of the solution when it comes to crafting treatment and prevention.
Read more on the AlterNet website.