Around the Agencies
- NIAAA survey finds marijuana use among adults has doubled over the past decade
- GAO study finds need for additional performance measures for National Guard’s State Counterdrug Program
- HHS announces $2.2 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants were awarded in FY 2015
News from the States
- 3 in 10 Maryland residents report having known someone with an opioid use disorder
News from NASADAD
- NASADAD releases section-by-section analysis of the Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act
In the News
- Senate passes Protecting Our Infants Act to address neonatal abstinence syndrome
- CBO releases cost estimates for reconciliation bill repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act
- Individuals with substance use disorders step out of anonymity to fight stigma
- Alcohol Policy Conference abstract proposal submissions deadline announced for November 15th
- NCSL announces webinar on State-based strategies for addressing prescription drug misuse
Around the Agencies
NIAAA survey finds marijuana use among adults has doubled over the past decade
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that the prevalence of marijuana use and marijuana use disorders doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013 in a survey released last week. Adults using marijuana in the past year increased from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent of United States adults, with rates of marijuana use disorders increasing from 1.5 percent to 2.9 percent in the same period. Symptoms of marijuana use disorders include using large amounts of the drug over long periods of time, an inability to reduce use, and a failure to meet professional responsibilities as a result of marijuana use. The survey found that young adults ages 18-29 were at highest risk for using marijuana and developing marijuana use disorder, “with use increasing from 10.5 percent to 21.2 percent and disorder increasing from 4.4 percent to 7.5 percent over the past decade.” Black and Hispanic populations also experienced significant increases in marijuana usage and marijuana use disorders over the same time period. The NIAAA recommends that the scientific community expand efforts to educate the public about the risks of marijuana use in response to the results of the survey.
GAO study finds need for additional performance measures for National Guard’s State Counterdrug Program
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new study finding a need for additional performance measures for the National Guard’s State Counterdrug Program last week. The counterdrug program’s funding ranged from $219.3 million to $242.1 million between FY 2004 and 2014, with FY 2015 funding decreasing significantly. The GAO found that the program’s current performance measures are not adequate for overseeing State-level programs. The GAO’s report recommends that the Department of Defense (DOD) determine what additional information is needed to properly evaluate State-level programs and develop new measuring tools to more equitably distribute funding to States.
HHS announces $2.2 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants were awarded in FY 2015
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that over $2.2 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants were awarded in FY 2015 to a variety of State and local community organizations. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as part of a larger effort to increase treatment quality for individuals with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Acting HRSA Administrator, James MacRae, emphasized the importance and success of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program last week, stating that “in 2013, 81 percent of program clients were retained in care and more than 78 percent of those who were in care are virally suppressed.”
News from the States
3 in 10 Maryland residents report knowing someone with an opioid use disorder
A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll has found that 3 in 10 Maryland residents report having a close friend or family member currently or formerly struggling with an opioid use disorder. Residents in Baltimore City and County reported the highest number of personal connections, with nearly 40 percent of respondents stating they know someone with an opioid use disorder. The poll found that personal connections with substance use disorders were associated with a desire for increased State spending on treatment. Fifty-two percent of Maryland residents knowing someone with an opioid use disorder believe Maryland spends too little on treatment, compared to only 38 percent among residents without a personal connection. Governor Larry Hogan created a task force in February 2015 to determine ways to improve access to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders. The task force released its initial report to Governor Hogan earlier this month. Recommendations include “earlier and broader incorporation of heroin and opioid prevention into the health curriculum, the infusion of heroin and opioid prevention into additional disciplines, student-based heroin and opioid prevention campaigns, and Maryland State police training on the Good Samaritan law.”
News from NASADAD
NASADAD releases section-by-section analysis of the Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act
Today NASADAD released a section-by-section analysis of Rep. Luján’s (NM) Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2015. This Act would reauthorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women. Additionally, the legislation would create a pilot program to give States the flexibility to implement family-based substance use disorder services for pregnant and postpartum women at various levels of care, not only residential settings. The pilot program would help State substance abuse agencies address gaps in services for pregnant and parenting women along the continuum of care, and encourage new approaches and models of service delivery.
In the News
Senate passes Protecting Our Infants Act to address neonatal abstinence syndrome
Last week the Senate unanimously approved the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 (S. 799). The Act would require the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop a report on prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The report would provide an assessment of existing research on NAS, as well as an evaluation of the causes, treatment, and barriers to treatment of opioid use disorders among women of reproductive age. The report would also provide recommendations on preventing, identifying, and treating opioid dependency in women and infants with NAS.
CBO releases cost estimates for reconciliation bill repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimates for the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3762) last week, asserting that if passed the bill would result in a $130 billion decrease in deficits over 2016-2025. The legislation repeals several major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the individual and employer mandates, and the “Cadillac tax” imposing taxes on medical devices and certain types of employer-provided healthcare coverage. The CBO further estimated that enacting the bill would leave 15 percent of the non-elderly population uninsured after 2016, compared to only 10 percent under current law. The full House considered the bill on Friday, October 23rd, and was passed with a vote of 240 – 189. In the Senate, the Act may face more resistance, as several Republican leaders have expressed reluctance to support a bill not fully repealing the ACA. Other Senate Republicans oppose provisions in the bill eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood, as they face reelection in blue-leaning States in 2016.
Individuals with substance use disorders step out of anonymity to fight stigma
Many individuals with substance use disorders have begun stepping out of anonymity in order to fight stigma associated with substance use, as the Washington Post reported earlier this month. Many advocates cite stigma surrounding substance use disorders as a large barrier to expanding the quality and quantity of treatment options. Research suggests that increased exposure to individuals with substance use disorders changes attitudes, as a John Hopkins study recently found. The study exposed participants to over 4,000 stories of people successfully treated for mental or substance use disorders. Researchers found that exposure to the stories led to “less desire for social distance, greater belief in the effectiveness of treatment and less willingness to discriminate against persons with these conditions.” Efforts to increase the visibility of substance use disorders amongst the public have occurred simultaneously with a push to change the language associated with substance use. Advocates have continuously asserted that the use of terms such as “addicts” and “abuse” increase stigma and are counterproductive for increasing access to treatment.
Alcohol Policy Conference abstract proposal submissions deadline announced for November 15th
The Alcohol Policy Conference announced that the deadline for submission of abstract proposals for this year’s conference is November 15th. The planning committee requests proposals focus on alcohol control measures, high-risk alcohol consumption, links between alcohol use and cancer, and community-based efforts to combat alcohol-related problems – among a number of additional topics. The Alcohol Policy Conference will be held in Arlington, Virginia from April 6th-8th, 2016. The conference will highlight methods for applying alcohol policy research to public health systems at the community, state, national, and international levels.
NCSL announces webinar on State-based strategies for addressing prescription drug misuse
For those unable to attend the National Prevention Network’s (NPN) conference November 17th-19th, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has announced a new webinar focusing on prescription drug misuse and risks associated with methadone treatment. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, November 17th from 2:00-3:00pm EST. Research suggests that methadone-related overdoses have risen due to healthcare providers increasingly prescribing methadone for pain management instead of substance use disorder treatment. The webinar will discuss options available to States for managing the risks associated with methadone, and will feature commentary from representatives from West Virginia’s House of Delegates on their State’s experiences.
Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Morrison, Executive Director, (202) 293-0090 or Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman, Public Policy Associate, at (202) 293-0090.