Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Graphic of revenue potential from an alcohol tax

What do you think?

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Underage drinking has been considered a problem in this country for much longer than I’ve been alive, but the problem seems to have intensified in the last 5-10 years. This is in part due to increased awareness of the tragedies that happen when teenagers who were poorly educated about the dangers involved in drinking or using drugs.

The debate for parents of teenagers is a difficult one–do you strictly prohibit drinking or promote doing so in moderation and while making safe decisions? Do you allow your children to have a glass of wine or beer in your home, or not allow any alcohol what-so-ever?

One recent article tells the story of a mother who told her son not to drink, but also told him that if he did drink he absolutely shouldn’t drive. He died of alcohol poisoning with a BAC of .41 at age 18, shortly after graduating high school and moving out with a friend, when friends convinced him to chug rum. His mother has told her younger son that she doesn’t want him to drink until he is 21, and to the best of her knowledge he hasn’t. (more…)

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Ever since the United States Congress passed the Health Care Reform bill, I’ve been curious what the impact of the bill will be on alcohol/substance abuse treatment and prevention services. Slowly, more information is becoming available on this matter.

According to the Legal Action Center, all of the new plans that are created “will be required to cover mental health and substance use disorder services.” Specifically,

  • Addiction and mental health benefits will be provided in the same manner as all other basic medical care.
  • A national prevention council will be created with the leadership of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  • There will be a new fund for public health and prevention that will distribute $15 billion over the course of 10 years in order to promote prevention in homes, schools and workplaces. (more…)

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A story out yesterday from Join Together took a look at rates of alcohol use and smoking in the United States from 2005-2007. Join Together, a program run by the Boston University School of Public Health, is a leader in community efforts to increase the efficiency of alcohol and drug policies, treatment methods, and prevention programming.

The report that the article is based on is Health Behaviors of Adults: United States which looked at drinking, smoking, physical activity and sleep. It found that 61.2% of American adults currently drink alcohol, while 24.6% have never drank and 14.3% self-identify as former drinkers. Within this 14.3%, 8.1% were ‘infrequent drinkers’ and 6.2% were ‘regular drinkers’. (more…)

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As the United States continues to struggle with health care reform and the economy remains in rough shape, a number of people are finding themselves in difficult situations. These circumstances have put some individuals willing to seek substance abuse treatment at a disadvantage, as they do not have insurance to cover their treatment and may not qualify for alternative methods of payment.

“An estimated 3 million full-time workers in America without health insurance needed substance use treatment in the past year, according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).”EHS Today

Just about 12% of those in need are able to receive treatment. Successful substance abuse treatment results in safer and more productive workplaces and better personal lives. The article states that for every dollar invested in substance abuse treatment, there are $7 that then benefit society in a variety of ways. To read the study, click here.

The country’s inability to serve the other 88% of the 3 million is an injustice and must find a place in our health care reform.

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In the coming days or weeks, President Obama and his White House Office of National Drug Control Policy staff–Deputy Director A. Thomas McLellan and Director Gil Kerlikowske–will be releasing a new National Drug Control Strategy.

The 2010 strategy will largely focus on aiding the recovery process. “Identify and work to remove real or perceived barriers to recovery” is one of the vital tasks listed in a newsletter released in January that is the first of a series that will keep the public informed of this office’s activities. (more…)

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