New Resource: Prevention Brief on Prescription Drug Abuse by Adolescents

Source: National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence E Newsletter, January 2009
Prescription drugs are the second most commonly abused drug among adolescents—surpassed only by marijuana.  Nearly one in five teens report abusing prescription drugs to get high, and one third of all new abusers in 2006 were 12 to 17 years old. This Prevention Brief summarizes the data on prescription drug abuse and provides strategies for parents, schools, and medical professionals to prevent abuse. This prevention brief can be accessed at http://www.promoteprevent.org/Publications/center-briefs/prevention_brief_rxdrugs.pdf.

RWJF Presents Audio Seminar on Capacity Building

Source:  JoinTogether.org Funding Tips and Trends, 1/21/2009
Addiction treatment and prevention groups can learn capacity-building strategies from a free seminar developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The seminar, available for download as an audio recording or transcript from the RWJF website, was developed for the foundation’s treatment and prevention grantees but can be used by any addiction-related organization.

The seminar focuses on communications, including working with the media and explaining your value proposition to funders, and is led by an expert panel.

Click here to listen to seminars.

President George W. Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, and General Colin L. Powell Headline National Mentoring Month 2009

Source : Center for Health Communication News Release, 12/31/2008

President George W. Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, and General Colin L. Powell are headlining the Eighth Annual National Mentoring Month volunteer recruitment drive. Held each January, the campaign mobilizes community volunteers to help young people achieve their full potential.

On December 30, President Bush issued a Proclamation designating January 2009 as National Mentoring Month. President-elect Barack Obama is featured in a print ad promoting mentor recruitment under the slogan, “Be the Change: Mentor a Child.” And, General Powell is featured in a TV PSA supporting the campaign.

Last year, more than 375,000 individuals responded to the campaign by seeking information about local mentoring programs that need more volunteers.

Research has shown that programs that rely on volunteer mentors can play a powerful role in reducing drug abuse and youth violence while greatly enhancing a young person’s prospects for leading a healthy and productive life.

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In communities across the country, designated nonprofit and governmental agencies are responsible for coordinating local campaign activities, including media outreach and volunteer recruitment. These local lead partners include state and local affiliates of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network, America’s Promise Alliance, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Communities in Schools, and United Way of America.

Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of President George W. Bush and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Senator John McCain, Quincy Jones, General Colin L. Powell, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bill Russell, and Usher. For more information on National Mentoring Month, please visit: www.NationalMentoringMonth.org.

Teens Display Risky Behaviors on MySpace

Source: Jointogether.org Research Report, 1/6/2009

Researchers say that half of teen MySpace sites include references to sex, drug use, or other high-risk behavior, with 41 percent of sites studied featuring drug-related information, Reuters reported Jan. 6.

In one study, researcher Dimitri Christakis of Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Megan Moreno of the University of Wisconsin looked at randomly chosen profiles of 18-year-olds on the social-networking site MySpace and found that 54 percent of profiles available to the public showed information regarding high risk behavior.

The researchers sent messages to 95 adults ages 18 to 20 whose profiles showed risky behavior, warning them of the risks of sharing such information on the internet and providing a link to a website with information about sexually transmitted diseases. A second study found that many of the subjects subsequently removed references to sex and substance abuse or limited viewing privileges on their profiles.

(How can I keep my teen safe on MySpace?)

Such an intervention “really provides the opportunity to reach millions of potential at-risk teens and try to modify their behaviors or at least prevent them from disclosing them to the entire world,” Christakis said, adding that teens should protect such information from potential sexual predators as well as future employers and universities.

The studies were published Jan. 1, 2009 in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

This article summarizes an external report or press release on research published in a scientific journal. When available, links to the sources are provided above.

NIDA Releases a New Research Report on Comorbidity of Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses

Source: NIDA News Release, 1/6/2009

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today released a research report,Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses, summarizing the state of the science regarding the complex relationship between substance abuse and other mental disorders. 

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Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses describes common factors that can lead to comorbidity, including genetic and gender vulnerabilities, involvement of similar brain regions, and the influence of developmental factors; and discusses how comorbidity can be diagnosed and treated. Several examples of behavioral therapies tested in patients with comorbid conditions–as well as potential medications–are outlined in the research report.

The comorbidity research report also highlights some of the challenges of treating these conditions concurrently. Moreover, the unique needs of returning military personnel and their families may demand novel approaches. To address these concerns, NIDA is convening a meeting to gain a better understanding of the prevention and treatment needs regarding substance abuse and related disorders among military personnel and their families. This will include a discussion of current prevention and treatment approaches; as well as promising interventions that may be adapted for this population. The goal of the meeting is to formulate a research agenda for conducting substance abuse prevention and treatment in military populations.

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To learn more about addiction and other mental illnesses, or to receive the Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses Research Report, free of charge (in English or Spanish), visit the NIDA website at www.drugabuse.govor contact DrugPubs, NIDA’s Research Dissemination Center, at 1-877-NIDA-NIH (1-877-643-2644) or 1-240-645-0228 (TDD). Order requests can also be emailed to: drugpubs@nida.nih.gov.