The human mind is one of the most complex structures in the universe. Even in early infancy, it is capable of taking in a wide variety of inputs. Still, in our early years, we’ve only unlocked a small portion of its potential. Our brains actually continue to develop into our twenties. Accordingly, the U.S. Government embraces a definition of youth that continues until we turn 25.
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Across HHS, SAMHSA and our sister agencies are marshaling resources to support Secretary Burwell’s initiative to address the opioid crisis in this country. One of the key strategies in this Department-wide effort involves changing prescribing behavior. To reduce opioid misuse, we need to reduce the number of pills in people’s medicine cabinets. To do that, physicians and other providers need to be better educated on proper prescribing and dispensing of opioids.
People with mental and/or substance use disorders account for 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked in the United States. In one year, that’s about 177 billion cigarettes—enough to stretch to the moon and back 17 times.
For some with mental illness, smoking might seem pleasurable or like a way to reduce stress. Those in recovery from substance use might worry that quitting smoking could jeopardize their abstinence from other substances. But research indicates otherwise. In fact, smoking appears to interfere with behavioral health. Quitting smoking, on the other hand, can improve mental health and addiction recovery outcomes. For example, studies show that: