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The opioids crisis is affecting communities across the nation. The disease of opioid use disorder does not discriminate. As the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, I believe strongly that we must do all we can to stem the tide of this crisis; however, I believe we must take measured, well-thought-out and responsible steps to do this.
The temptation to develop seemingly quick solutions is understandable but I urge the nation to proceed instead with caution.
For the past four years, SAMHSA has issued the Behavioral Health Barometer as a snapshot of the nation’s behavioral health. The Barometer is a unique compilation of facts and figures on issues such as substance use, serious mental illness, serious thoughts of suicide, and related treatment. The findings are broken down into major groups according to age, gender, racial and ethnic categories, income, and access to health insurance.What does the Barometer tell us? For starters, it shows the national annual prevalence of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use. In 2015, about 12.5 million persons aged 12 and over reported misusing prescription pain relievers, and about 828,000 reported using heroin.
We need to talk—about depression. The World Health Organization (WHO), has chosen depression as the focus of this year’s World Health Day on April 7, 2017, The theme is “Depression: Let’s Talk.” For years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has encouraged open discussion about mental health through efforts like community conversations. SAMHSA applauds WHO’s efforts to take this discussion global.
[blockquote quote="“In the United States, no child's dreams should be out of reach because the necessary encouragement and care were not accessible. As a Nation, as community members, and as American citizens, we have an obligation to help cultivate a society free from substance abuse. This month, let us resolve to model a healthy lifestyle for those around us, talk openly with our youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, and reach for a future where opportunity knows no bounds.” —President Obama"]Communities take many shapes: neighborhoods, schools and colleges, cities and towns, churches and other places of worship, workplaces, families, and peer groups. Throughout October, we called on these communities to get involved in National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.
In 2014, 9.4 million adults aged 18 or older reported that, in the past 12 months, they had thought seriously about trying to kill themselves. In that same year, 2.7 million made plans to do so, and 1.1 million made a nonfatal suicide attempt. This information, the latest report on SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), paints a stark picture of the number of adults in this country who are in crisis.