Earlier this month there was news that over 90 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl at a park in New Haven, Conn. Thankfully, no one died of an overdose that day due to the quick response from emergency personnel. Such stories remind us that people across the country are struggling with addiction to illicit substances and opioid-based pain medications.
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It is my pleasure to announce that Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, M.P.H., has joined SAMHSA as the first Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory. The Policy Lab was created as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and promotes innovation and the dissemination and adoption of evidence-based practices and service delivery models related to mental health and substance use, including through the evaluation of models that would benefit from further development and through expanding, replicating, or scaling evidence-based programs, policies, and practices.
At SAMHSA’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event in May, I had the opportunity to speak with the event’s honorary chairperson, Reid Ewing. If you’re a fan of the television show “Modern Family,” you may recognize him as Dylan, the former boyfriend of one of the show’s main characters.
At the event, Reid bravely shared his challenges with body dysmorphic disorder and depression, and how important his family has been to his recovery.