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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
September/October 2009, Volume 17, Number 5 

New Survey’s Significant Findings

The following highlights are presented in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). For full details, download the 2008 NSDUH.

Overall

  • In 2008, an estimated 20.1 million Americans age 12 or older used illicit drugs in the past month—this estimate represents 8.0 percent of the population of this age group. The rate of current illicit drug use among this age group was also 8.0 percent in 2007.
  • Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug (15.2 million past-month users). Among people age 12 or older, the rate of past-month marijuana use in 2008 (6.1 percent) was similar to the rate in 2007 (5.8 percent).
  • Slightly more than half (51.6 percent) of Americans age 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2008 survey. This translates to an estimated 129.0 million people, which is similar to the 2007 estimate (51.1 percent).
  • In 2008, an estimated 70.9 million Americans age 12 or older used tobacco in the past month. That represents 28.4 percent of the population in that age range.
  • There were an estimated 9.8 million adults age 18 or older with serious mental illness, representing 4.4 percent of adults.

Youth

  • Among 12- to 17-year-olds, there was a significant decline in overall past-month illicit drug use, from 11.6 percent in 2002 to 9.3 percent in 2008.
  • There have been significant decreases in the current use of alcohol, cigarettes, and nonmedical use of prescription drugs since 2007; the rate of current marijuana use among youth has remained stable.
  • Nonmedical use of prescription drugs among this age group dropped from 3.3 percent in 2007 to 2.9 percent in 2008.

Young Adults

  • Over the past 3 years, there has been a steady drop in the rate of heavy alcohol use by full-time college students age 18 to 22—from a high of 19.5 percent in 2005 to 16.3 percent in 2008.
  • From 2002 to 2008, there were declines in past-month cocaine use, inhalant use, nonmedical use of stimulants, and methamphetamine use among people age 18 to 25. However, over the same period, there were increases in the current use of pain relievers and LSD.

Other Findings

  • The misuse of prescription drugs decreased significantly between 2007 and 2008 among those age 12 and older, including among adolescents.
  • Past-month methamphetamine use among those age 12 and older dropped sharply from approximately 529,000 people in 2007 to 314,000 in 2008.
  • The level of current cocaine use among the population age 12 and older has decreased from 1.0 percent in 2006 to 0.7 percent in 2008.

For more information, download the 2008 NSDUH.


  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience

Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience




  Treatment Updates  
Treating Alcohol Disorders with Medication

Treating Alcohol Disorders with Medication

A set of guidelines for use of effective medications, such as naltrexone.

Guidance for Change

Guidance for Change

Substance abuse treatment programs: Here’s a way to integrate evidence-based practices into their services.

Treating Opioid Addiction

Treating Opioid Addiction

Three new educational brochures for patients on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction are available.


  Suicide Awareness  
Dealing with Suicide Loss

Dealing with Suicide Loss

To help support survivors of suicide loss, a new guide for funeral directors.

National Study on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

National Study on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Nearly 8.3 million adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.


  Grants  
Recent Awards

Recent Awards

Millions of dollars in SAMHSA funding is heading to state and community programs.

Tips on Writing a Winning Proposal

Tips on Writing a Winning Proposal

Boost your chances of crafting a winning grant proposal by following an expert’s advice.


  Communications  
Highlights of Recent Conference

Highlights of Recent Conference

New ways to engage partners and the public in improving health through an ongoing dialogue.

Strategic Communications Framework

Public health practice aligns with evidence-based communications to help establish “a common language.”


  Recovery Month  
Recovery Month Launched

Recovery Month Launched

20th anniversary events across the country marked this year’s celebrations, which included a march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photo Gallery

SAMHSA’s Dr. Westley Clark, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, joined other VIPs to celebrate.


  New Survey Data  
National Survey Shows Overall Drug Use Steady at 8 Percent

National Survey Shows Overall Drug Use Steady at 8 Percent

Among 12- to 17-year-olds, a significant decline was reported in past-month illicit drug use.


  Prevention Update  
FASD Awareness Day

FASD Awareness Day

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day emphasized the message, “If you’re pregnant, don’t drink alcohol.”


  Special Populations  

Hispanics

An annual average of 2.6 million Hispanics age 12 or older needed alcohol use treatment in the past year.

American Indians

A recent report examines the 335 identified facilities serving the American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2007.

Race and Ethnicity

New data focus on the need for treatment for substance use and depression among adults age 18 or older by race/ethnicity.


  Also in this Issue  
Statistics on Mental Health Groups

Statistics on Mental Health Groups

Of the 28.8 million adults who received mental health treatment in the past year, about 5.5 percent also received support from a self-help group.

Science and Service Awards

Science and Service Awards

Categories for this year’s awards to 27 organizations included substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services, and more.

GlassBook Project

GlassBook Project

Trauma awareness through art was the topic of a recent presentation as part of SAMHSA’s Consumer Affairs Seminar Series.



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