Tag Archive: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Many children aspire to live like a Hollywood star.

Sadly, teens every year are dying like one.

They share the same fate of succumbing to a prescription drug overdose

Forbes is the latest major media outlet to focus on the rising opiate problem, the 36,000 overdose related deaths in 2008.


This isn’t anything new to our readers. We highlight the information from SAMHSA studies and the Univeristy of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future surveys as the information is released.

But Forbes digs inside the number, and takes a look at famous faces who have shared the same fate as many teens and young adults.

Click here for the Forbes article and the story written by Melanie Haiken.

As America endures this summer scorcher, people are trying to keep cool by hitting the beaches, pools, or air conditioning.

Some kids are spending their summer experimenting with alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) released new data today revealing that more adolescents try alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana in June and July than any other months.

Most months, the daily average of first time drinkers between the ages of 12 and 17 is about 5,000 to 8,000 kids. But in June and July the daily average for first time adolescent drinkers is 11,000.

There is a slight increase in cigarette smoking levels. Most days about 3,000 to 4,000 kids light up for the first time. In June and July that number raises to 5,000.

And when it comes to marijuana use, more than 4,500 youths start using it on an average day in June and July, compared to about 3,000 to 4,000 youths during the other months.

SAMSHA Administrator Pamela Hyde says the reason for the increase is simple. “More free time and less adult supervision can make the summertime an exciting time for many young people, but it can also increase the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of substance abuse,”

“That is why it is critically important to take every opportunity we can throughout the year to talk to our young people about the real risks of substance abuse and effective measures for avoiding it, so they will be informed and capable of making the right decisions on their own.”

This is the time for parents to consider using a Teensavers Home Drug Test Kit, to catch experimentation before it becomes a habit. Too many teens try alcohol and marijuana and make it a regular choice. What starts as a Friday and Saturday night thing, stretches into a daily ritual.

It really is important to talk with your teens about the dangers of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

Even if you have had the conversation before, you should have it frequently. There are numerous drug related news items in and around our community that can serve as the topic of discussion.

Your teens are constantly hit with imagery, messages, and peer pressure that being buzzed or high is cool. The partying lifestyle is glamorized in music, television shows, and movies. It’s time parents offer some counter messaging. Parents need to show their kids examples of how drinking and drug use can have devastating consequences.

No community is immune to drugs. Many teens say getting marijuana is easier than getting alcohol.

I’ve spoken to medical marijuana pharmacy operators and they’ve told me that many kids go get their pot cards the day they turn 18, and “patients” tend to buy more marijuana during holiday periods.

As parents, we know we can’t be around our kids all of the time. But if we can educate them about drugs, it will be easier to trust that they will make the right decisions.

New statistics released this week from SAMHSA, show that a majority of college treatment admissions are for alcohol and not drugs.

College students had lower rates of treatment admissions than nonstudents their age for other types of primary substance abuse such as:

·         Heroin – 7.2 percent for college students versus 16.1 percent for nonstudents

·         Other opiates– 8.3 percent for college students versus 10.5 percent for nonstudents

·         Cocaine – 1.9 percent for college students versus 4.2 percent for nonstudents

·         Methamphetamine – 1 percent for college students versus 4.4 percent for nonstudents


A quick look at the report summary can be viewed HERE.

The scary thing is that a combined 23% of young adults have used heroin.    And the opiate numbers are close at nearly 19% of all college-aged children.

Chances are, these kids did not start using in college.   Some of this drug use has carried over from experimentation in high school.   Parents can’t let their children build up these experimentation habits in high school.  By the time they get to college or move out on their own, they have a constant supplier and they have the freedom to use in their dorm or apartments without parental supervision.

Parents have a tool they can use.    The Teensavers Home Drug Test Kits scan for all of the drugs mentioned above.   A 12-panel test is the comprehensive test for your family that tests for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, oxycodone, methamphetamine, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiaepines, methadone, PCP, MDMA (ecstasy), and tricyclic antidepressants.   Click on the box to get a Teensavers Home Drug Test Kits.



SAMHSA announces a working definition of “recovery” from mental disorders and substance use disorders

A new working definition of recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders is being announced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The definition is the product of a year-long effort by SAMHSA and a wide range of partners in the behavioral health care community and other fields to develop a working definition of recovery that captures the essential, common experiences of those recovering from mental disorders and substance use disorders, along with major guiding principles that support the recovery definition. SAMHSA led this effort as part of its Recovery Support Strategic Initiative.

The new working definition of Recovery from Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders is as follows:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

“Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that a practical, comprehensive working definition of recovery would enable policy makers, providers, and others to better design, deliver, and measure integrated and holistic services to those in need,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “By working with all elements of the behavioral health community and others to develop this definition, I believe SAMHSA has achieved a significant milestone in promoting greater public awareness and appreciation for the importance of recovery, and widespread support for the services that can make it a reality for millions of Americans.”

A major step in addressing this need occurred in August2010 when SAMHSA convened a meeting of behavioral health leaders, consisting of mental health consumers and individuals in addiction recovery. Together these members of the behavioral health care community developed a draft definition and principles of recovery to reflect common elements of the recovery experience for those with mental disorders and/or substance use disorders.

In the months that have followed, SAMHSA worked with the behavioral health care community and other interested parties in reviewing drafts of the working recovery definition and principles with stakeholders at meetings, conferences and other venues. In August 2011, SAMHSA posted the working definition and principles that resulted from this process on the SAMHSA blog and invited comments from the public via SAMHSA Feedback Forums. The blog post received 259 comments, and the forums had over 1000 participants, nearly 500 ideas, and over 1,200 comments on the ideas. Many of the comments received have been incorporated into the current working definition and principles.

Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has also delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:

  • Health : overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
  • Home: a stable and safe place to live;
  • Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
  • Community : relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.


Guiding Principles of Recovery


Recovery emerges from hope: The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future – that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.

Recovery is person-driven: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s).

Recovery occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds ? including trauma experiences ? that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Abstinence is the safest approach for those with substance use disorders.

Recovery is holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.


Recovery is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery

Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.

Recovery is culturally-based and influenced : Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations ? including values, traditions, and beliefs ? are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery.

Recovery is supported by addressing trauma : Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.

Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility: Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.

Recovery is based on respect : Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems – including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination – are crucial in achieving recovery.

For further detailed information about the new working recovery definition or the guiding principles of recovery please visit: http://www.samhsa.gov/recovery/


Myteensavers.com has been communicating with parents, telling them that pills are a problem.    Unfortunately America is in a stir over President Obama’s birth certificate.  But more importantly, the White House is sending out its own message about the devastation of opiates.

Here is the government press release!


New Strategy Strikes Balance between Cracking down on Drug Diversion and Protecting Delivery of Effective Pain Management

Washington, D.C.—Today, Gil Kerlikowske, White House Director of National Drug Control Policy; Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services, Howard Koh, M.D.; Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.; and DEA Administrator, Michele M. Leonhart released the Obama Administration’s comprehensive action plan to address the national prescription drug abuse epidemic and announced new Federal requirements aimed at educating the medical community about proper prescribing practices.

The Administration’s Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis provides a national framework for reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse by supporting the expansion of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, recommending more convenient and environmentally responsible disposal methods to remove unused medications from the home, supporting education for patients and healthcare providers, and reducing the prevalence of pill mills and doctor shopping through enforcement efforts. The plan is the culmination of six months of collaboration across the Federal government, with agencies including the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and others.

In support of the action plan, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that it is requiring an Opioids Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). The new program will require manufacturers of long-acting and extended-release opioids to provide educational programs to prescribers of these medications, as well as materials prescribers can use when counseling patients about the risks and benefits of opioid use. The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 gave FDA the authority to require manufacturers to develop and implement a REMS to ensure the benefits of a drug or biological product outweigh its risks.

“Today we are making an unprecedented commitment to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse,” said Vice President Biden. “The Government, as well as parents, patients, health care providers, and manufacturers all play a role in preventing abuse. This plan will save lives, and it will substantially lessen the burden this epidemic takes on our families, communities, and workforce.”

“The toll our Nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic has taken in communities nationwide is devastating ,” said Director Kerlikowske. “We share a responsibility to protect our communities from the damage done by prescription drug abuse. This plan will build upon our already unprecedented efforts to coordinate a national response to this public health crisis by addressing the threat at the Federal, state, and local level.”

“Abuse of prescription drugs, especially opioids, represents an alarming public health crisis.” said Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. Assistant Secretary for Health. “This Plan, which coordinates a public health approach with a public safety approach, offers hope and health to our Nation.”

“Unintentional drug overdose is a growing epidemic in the US and is now the leading cause of injury death in 17 states,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said. “There are effective and emerging strategies out there to address this problem. Support for this action plan will help us implement those strategies which will go a long way to save lives and reduce the tremendous burden this problem has on our healthcare system and our society.”

“Long-acting and extended-release opioid drugs have benefit when used properly and are a necessary component of pain management for certain patients, but we know that they pose serious risks when used improperly, with serious negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The prescriber education component of this Opioid REMS balances the need for continued access to these medications with stronger measures to reduce their risks.”

“DEA is committed to implementing this important and much needed action plan to reduce the demand for prescription drugs, enforce our nation’s drug laws, and take back unneeded prescription drugs,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “When abused, prescription drugs are just as dangerous and just as addictive as drugs like methamphetamine or heroin. The more we can do to stop the abuse of prescription drugs, the more effective we will be in reducing the death, destruction and despair that accompanies all drug abuse.”

Prescription drug abuse is our Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. The number of people who have unintentionally overdosed on prescription drugs now exceeds the number who overdosed during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s and the black tar heroin epidemic of the 1970’s combined. In 2007, approximately 27,000 people died from unintentional drug overdoses, driven mostly by prescription drugs. Additionally, a ccording to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of Americans in 2009 aged 12 and older currently abusing pain relievers has increased by 20 percent since 2002. Further, visits by individuals to hospital emergency rooms involving the misuse or abuse of pharmaceutical drugs have doubled over the past five years.

ONDCP is coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health approach to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States . This effort includes requesting an increase in funding for drug prevention by $123 million and treatment programs by $99 million dollars for Fiscal Year 2012, to train and engage primary health care to intervene in emerging cases of drug abuse, expand and improve specialty care for addiction—including care for families and veterans, and to better manage drug-related offenders in community corrections.

To read the full Action Plan, click here.

To read the FDA’s Opioids Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), click here.

To get involved in DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative, click here.

Children of Alcoholics Week

February 13 to 19, 2011

An estimated 25 percent of all children in the United States (about 27.8 million) are affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. SAMHSA supports the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) during its Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week. COA Week celebrates the recovery of the many thousands of children (of all ages) who have received the help they needed to recover from the pain and losses suffered in their childhood, and it offers hope to those still suffering from the adverse impact of parental alcohol and drug addiction.

Become an advocate of support and assistance for the children of alcoholics.

Teensavers supports SAMSHA and the NACoA.

Remember, if you know someone with a drinking or a drug abuse problem, get them help immediately.   If you are unsure if your child is using drugs or alcohol, you can get home drug test kits and alcohol detectors at MYTEENSAVERS.com



The group at Myteensavers.com has been reading the recent report by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The recently released National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows a disturbing trend.   These 2009 stats shed light on which direction drug use is moving.  I will focus on some of the rates for minors, as the survey deals with both adults and children.

When it comes to illicit drug use:

  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the current illicit drug use rate increased from 2008 (9.3 percent) to 2009 (10.0 percent). Between 2002 and 2008, the rate declined from 11.6 to 9.3 percent.
  • The rate of current marijuana use among youths aged 12 to 17 decreased from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2006, remained unchanged at 6.7 percent in 2007 and 2008, then increased to 7.3 percent in 2009.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 to 2.9 percent in 2008, then held steady at 3.1 percent in 2009.
  • The rate of current Ecstasy use among youths aged 12 to 17 declined from 0.5 percent in 2002 to 0.3 percent in 2004, remained at that level through 2007, then increased to 0.5 percent in 2009.
  • Between 2008 and 2009, the rate of current use of illicit drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 increased from 19.6 to 21.2 percent, driven largely by an increase in marijuana use (from 16.5 to 18.1 percent).

Obtaining drugs:

  • Almost half (49.9 percent) of youths aged 12 to 17 reported in 2009 that it would be “fairly easy” or “very easy” for them to obtain marijuana if they wanted some.
  • Approximately one in five reported it would be easy to get cocaine (20.9 percent).
  • About one in seven (13.5 percent) indicated that LSD would be “fairly” or “very” easily available, and 12.9 percent reported easy availability for heroin.

Teens who said they used drugs in the last month:

Drug use by teens in the last month

The rate of past month illicit drug use increased from 2008 to 2009 among youths aged 12 to 17 (from 9.3 to 10.0 percent) and young adults aged 18 to 25 (from 19.6 to 21.2 percent) (Shown below)

Teen Drug Use

Youths Aged 12 to 17

  • In 2009, 10.0 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 were current illicit drug users : 7.3 percent used marijuana, 3.1 percent engaged in nonmedical use of prescription-type psychotherapeutics, 1.0 percent used inhalants, 0.9 percent used hallucinogens, and 0.3 percent used cocaine.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the types of drugs used in the past month varied by age group. Among 12 or 13 year olds, 1.6 percent used prescription-type drugs nonmedically, 1.4 percent used inhalants, and 0.8 percent used marijuana. Among 14 or 15 year olds, marijuana was the most commonly used drug (6.3 percent), followed by prescription-type drugs used nonmedically (3.3 percent); inhalants and hallucinogens tied for third rank (0.8 percent). Marijuana also was the most commonly used drug among 16 or 17 year olds (14.0 percent); it was followed by prescription-type drugs used nonmedically (4.3 percent), hallucinogens (1.6 percent), inhalants (0.8 percent), and cocaine (0.6 percent).
  • After gradually declining from 11.6 percent in 2002 to 9.3 percent in 2008, the rate of past month illicit drug use among 12 to 17 year olds increased to 10.0 percent in 2009. Marijuana use declined from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2006, held steady at that rate through 2008, then increased to 7.3 percent in 2009. Nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 and 2003 to 2.9 percent in 2008; the rate in 2009, 3.1 percent, was not significantly different from the rate in 2008.

These stats indicate a disturbing trend.  After years of decline, teens are finding their way back to drugs.   Parents can utilize home drug testing kits.     Myteensavers.com is a place where parents can educate themselves.