Around the Agencies
- CDC study examines alcohol use and binge drinking among women of childbearing age
- CAPT web area moves to the Programs and Campaigns section of the SAMHSA website
- NIDA reorganizes divisional structure to emphasize research on neuroscience and brain development
News from the States
- Maryland opioid task force releases series of recommendations to Governor Larry Hogan
- Indiana governor announces new task force on substance use disorders
- Oregon communities prevent recreational sale of marijuana
In the News
- New article examines provider application of SBIRT to young people
- Study finds substance use disorders associated with increased risk of death after release from prison
- Center for Health Care Strategies releases new tool on mental health and substance use disorder integration into Medicaid accountable care organizations
- States warn insurance agencies against using consumer reports to determine premiums
- Governors Highway Safety Association reports increase in drug use as cause of fatal car crashes
- Affordable Care Act amendment passes Senate, expects to be signed by President Obama
- IRETA announces webinar discussing substance use disorders in the military
Around the Agencies
CDC study examines alcohol use and binge drinking among women of childbearing age
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new study this past week examining alcohol use among women of childbearing age. The study used Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2011-2013 to form its conclusions. Fifty-three percent of non-pregnant women reported alcohol use and 18percent of non-pregnant women reported binge drinking. Ten percent of pregnant women reported alcohol use and 3 percent of pregnant women reported binge drinking. Within the category of pregnant women, “women aged 35-44 years reported a significantly higher prevalence of any alcohol use (18.6%) than all other age groups.” Alcohol use among pregnant women with college degrees was twice as high compared to pregnant women with a high school diploma or less. The study notes an overall increase in alcohol use and binge drinking among pregnant and non-pregnant women compared to a similar study examining 2006-2010, but cautions that this increase may be a result of methodological changes in the BRFSS rather than an increase in alcohol use. The CDC recommends a “comprehensive approach to reduce alcohol use and binge drinking among pregnant women, and binge drinking among women of childbearing age” as a result of the study.
CAPT web area moves to the Programs and Campaigns section of the SAMHSA website
The Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT) web area has moved to the “Programs and Campaigns” section of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. The move is intended to streamline access to related resources on SAMHSA’s overall website. The new CAPT web area features the same content as its previous location, and will continue to be updated over the next several months. CAPT online courses will remain on a separate, password-protected online portal.
NIDA reorganizes divisional structure to emphasize research on neuroscience and brain development
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reorganized its internal structure to emphasize research on neuroscience and brain development. The reorganization follows an evaluation by a NIDA Advisory Council Workgroup in response to reduced staffing and new scientific advances. The Advisory Council Workgroup found that “advances in addiction neuroscience outpaced or rivaled those achieved for any other brain disease.” The new structure will “strengthen functional integration throughout NIDA and continue to emphasize translational neuroscience, brain development, and neurobehavioral interventions research as core elements of NIDA’s mission.”
NIDA’s Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research (DCNBR) will merge with the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research to form the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior as a result of the restructuring. Additionally, DCNBR’s behavioral treatment portfolio will merge with the Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse to form the Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences (DTMC). The focus of the new Division will be treatment development and interventions targeting the “brain circuits” associated with substance use disorders. The new structure is effective October 1st.
News from the States
Maryland opioid task force releases series of recommendations to Governor Larry Hogan
The Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force submitted its initial report and series of recommendations to Governor Larry Hogan last month, as the National Governors Association (NGA) reports. The task force was created by Governor Hogan in February 2015 to advise the governor on ways to improve access to treatment, healthcare quality, and alternatives to incarceration for individuals with substance use disorders. The initial series of 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,” among several other suggestions. The task force also released ten funding announcements to treatment facilities in an effort to expand access to treatment and overall quality of care. The task force’s final report is expected to be released in December 2015.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence announces new task force on substance use disorders
Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced a new task force focusing on combating substance use disorders last month, as the National Governors Association (NGA) reports. The Task Force will employ Indiana experts from a variety of backgrounds to examine substance use disorders within the State. Key goals of the Task Force include assessing the existing resources used to treat substance use disorders, identifying ways for federal, State, and local law enforcement to collaborate, identifying best practices for substance use disorder treatment, and identifying successful prevention programs. The Task Force will meet on a monthly basis for the remainder of the year before issuing a series of final recommendations to the Governor.
Oregon communities prevent recreational sale of marijuana
Several Oregon cities have moved to prevent the recreational sale of marijuana in their communities, despite recreational marijuana being legal in the State. Oregon Live reports that many rural communities are fearful that the recreational sale of marijuana will lead to increases in adolescent use and crime. The recreational sale of marijuana was legalized last year in Oregon through the ballot initiative Measure 91, which stipulated that “any local attempt to ban sales would have to go to the ballot after 10 percent of local voters signed a petition.” To date 13 counties in eastern Oregon have voted to ban medical and recreational marijuana sales of any type, with eight other cities planning similar votes next year.
In the News
New article examines provider application of SBIRT to young people
A new article written by Alexa Eggleston, Senior Program Officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, examines the growing application of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) to young people. Many health care providers do not currently examine adolescent patients for substance use disorders, despite the negative health implications alcohol and drugs can have on patients’ lives. Young people in recovery for substance use disorders often lament “missed opportunities” for intervention by health professionals, according to many recovery advocates. SBIRT provides a robust methodology for healthcare providers to approach the topic of substance use with adolescent patients, and screen them for substance use disorders if necessary. Positive feedback is provided to youth not using alcohol and drugs, while those who have begun using substances are advised on stopping use and remaining safe. Several organizations have partnered to increase the use of SBIRT, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the School-Based Health Alliance, YouthBuild USA, Reclaiming Futures, and Young People in Recovery.
Study finds substance use disorders associated with increased risk of death after release from prison
A new study tracking formerly-incarcerated individuals in Sweden has found that inmates with substance use disorders experienced higher rates of death post-incarceration than inmates without substance use disorders. The study examined individuals released from prison in Sweden from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009, finding an “estimated probability of death within 5 years of release from prison of 10.2% among men with substance use disorders compared to 3.2% among those without.” Women with substance use disorders exhibited a probability of death within 5 years of 6.5% compared to 2.6% among those without. The study’s authors conclude that more expansive treatment options are required “beyond the immediate period after incarceration,” and suggest investigating alternatives to incarceration for individuals with substance use disorders.
Center for Health Care Strategies releases new tool on mental health and substance use disorder integration into Medicaid accountable care organizations
The Center for Health Care Strategies released a new tool examining State integration of mental health and substance use disorders into Medicaid accountable care organizations (ACOs) last week. Many States have begun developing ACOs for Medicaid populations in order to reduce health care costs and improve health care quality by increasing communication across the continuum of care. The Center for Health Strategies asserts that many Medicaid patients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are not receiving optimal care due to the fragmented nature of the healthcare delivery system. ACOs address this problem through greater mental health and substance use disorder integration. The new tool explores strategies States can use when creating ACO systems.
States warn insurance agencies against using consumer reports to determine premiums
Several States have warned insurance agencies against using consumer reports to determine premiums, as Pew Charitable Trusts reports. Ten States (including California, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia) have issued warnings to insurance agencies using spending habits or shopping history as factors in determining insurance premium increases. State agencies and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) have expressed concern that if left unchecked, insurance companies’ technology will outpace the ability of insurance regulators to regulate the industry – leading to larger annual premium increases. Insurance companies have countered these assertions by stating that new “price optimization” practices only analyze groups of people, and that the practice is necessary to stay competitive.
Governors Highway Safety Association reports increase in drug use as cause of fatal car crashes
A new Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report has found increased rates of driving while under the influence of drugs as the cause of increased fatal car accidents over the past decade, as the Washington Post reports this week. The report finds that 40 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2013, compared to 29 percent in 2005. The report analyzed federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), finding that driving under the influence of drugs has increased as a result of the proliferation of prescription medications and the legalization of marijuana. The GHSA recommends the NHTSA issue best practices on preventing marijuana-impaired driving in response to the report, concluding that “marijuana is by far the most common drug that is used… and found in fatally-injured drivers.”
Affordable Care Act amendment passes Senate, expects to be signed by President Obama
An amendment to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by the Senate lastweek and is expected to be signed by President Obama. The amendment (HR 1624) modestly adjusts the categorization of midsized employers under the ACA, allowing business with 51 to 100 workers to be placed into the large employer category, while providing States discretion to categorize them as small employers if they choose. The bill aims to prevent midsized employers from being forced to change coverage and absorb large premium increases associated with the small group marketplace. The bill additionally provides $205 million to “a Medicare improvement fund that was cut under the health law.”
IRETA announces webinar discussing substance use disorders in the military
The Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions (IRETA) announced a new webinar discussing substance use disorders in the military last week. The webinar will be held on October 14th from 1-2PM EST. Ariel David, Project Coordinator of the Armed Services Network of Louisiana, will present on the aspects of substance use disorders unique to the military and the best practices used to address them. The webinar will also examine ways health care providers can be more productive when dealing with members of the military.
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.