Mental Health America Indiana Blog

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Report: some gains on substance abuse, mental health (USA Today)

For those of us who work in mental health and substance abuse related fields, it can seem sometimes that despite our best efforts, rates of substance abuse and mental illness are overwhelming.  But as we know, change takes time and we may not see immediate results of our efforts.  But take heart!  This newly released report from SAMHSA indicates that we are making progress, especially with our young people.  We still have a lot of work to do, but our efforts to prevent and reduce substance abuse are paying off in healthier kids, adults, and communities.  Read the brief synopsis of the report below or go to for the full report.

"The nation has a long way to go in battling mental health and substance abuse problems, but a new compilation of nationwide and state-by-state trends shows some signs of progress.

For example, fewer teens are smoking and fewer teens and young adults are abusing prescription painkillers, according to a report released Friday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report, called the National Behavioral Health Barometer, gathers together data from Medicare and from previously released surveys conducted by SAMHSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Separate state barometer reports also are available at the SAMHSA website. The reports provide snapshots that will be updated as new trends evolve, the agency says.

Some highlights from the 32-page national report:

• 6.6% of teens smoked cigarettes in 2012, down from 9.2% in 2008

• 8.7% of teens and 9.8% of young adults abused prescription painkillers in 2011, down from 9.2% of teens and 12% of young adults in 2007.

• 9.5% of teens used any illicit drug in 2012, about the same as in 2008.

• 9.1% of teens suffered from major depression in 2012, up from 8.3% in 2008. Only a third got treatment in both 2008 and 2012.

• 62.9% of adults with serious mental illness got any mental health treatment in 2012, about the same as in 2008.


• 1.25 million people were enrolled in substance use treatment in a single-day count conducted in 2012, up from 1.19 million in 2008."

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