September is National Recovery Month. We celebrate the millions of Americans who are living their lives in recovery from mental and substance use disorders and honor those who work to make recovery possible. We also take time to remember the people who have lost their lives and those who still need help.
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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.
Since 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued more than $1 billion in grants to support access to opioid-related treatment, prevention and recovery. We have also published resources to support prevention and treatment providers.
The week of March 26-30 is National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Awareness Week. At SAMHSA, this week provides the opportunity to highlight the needs of LGBT Americans with serious mental illness (SMI).Data from SAMHSA’s 2015-2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health provides insight on the prevalence of substance use and mental disorders among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults. The data indicate that LGB adults have higher rates of mental illness when compared to all adults.
Prevention & Treatment
I often found that my psychiatric practice’s patients diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder or another mental illness also were living with untreated drug or alcohol problems.
The presence of both substance abuse and mental illness is known as a co-occurring disorder. Left untreated, this condition poses a serious threat to an individual’s quality of life, including increased risk of family problems, frequent drug relapse, numerous hospitalizations, unemployment, homelessness, serious physical illness and death.