Funding Opportunity: Announcing Healthy Schools Colorado

The Rocky Mountain Center, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are pleased to announce Healthy Schools Colorado, a three-year grant opportunity. Healthy Schools Colorado will fund five large Colorado school districts or regions to support the implementation of the Coordinated School Health Model in schools and to support district policy efforts that focus on the following specific, measurable outcomes of the Colorado Health Foundation:

  • Increase number of children who engage in moderate or vigorous physical activity.
  • Increase number of children who eat adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Increase number of children who receive healthy meals at school and have access to healthy vending choices.
  • Increase number of children who receive evidence-based care for chronic disease and who can self-manage their chronic disease.

For more information and to download the District/Region Request for Application (RFA) and supporting materials, go to http://www.rmc.org/CSH/cshfunding.html

The RFA is due by June 5, 2009, at 4:00 pm.

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Methamphetamine Cost Society an Estimated $23.4 Billion in 2005: Majority of Costs Related to Addiction, Premature Death, Crime, and Criminal Justice

Source CESARfax, 18:6, 4/27/09

Methamphetamine cost the United States an estimated $23.4 billion in 2005, according to the first national estimate of the economic burden of meth use. The majority (71%) of these costs—an estimated $16.6 billionwere related to the “intangible burden that addiction places on dependent users and to premature mortality”(p. xiii). The costs associated with processing offenders for the possession and sale of meth, meth-induced violent and property crimes, and parole and probation violations for meth offenses represent 18%, or an estimated $4.2 billion, of the total costs. Other costs associated with methamphetamine use include child endangerment, lost productivity, drug treatment, health care, and harms resulting from production. According to the authors, “it is probably not the recreational meth user who imposes the greatest burden on our society, but rather those who become addicted, engage in crime, need treatment or emergency assistance, cannot show up for work, lose their jobs, or die prematurely”(p. xvi). It should be noted that indicators show that methamphetamine use has been declining in recent years, after peaking in 2005 (see CESAR FAX, Volume 18, Issue 13). 

Social Costs of Methamphetamine in the United States, 2005*The estimate of the cost of methamphetamine addiction is based on the number of people dependent on the drug and the monetary value of the lost quality of life, measured by a reduction in quality-adjusted life-years.

NOTE: The authors acknowledge that many of the estimates are “subject to substantial uncertainty”so they provide lower-and upper-bound estimates, as well as “best estimates,”for each component. For example, they estimate the total economic burden of methamphetamine to be in the range of $16.2 billion to$48.3 billion, with $23.4 billion being the best estimate. Data presented are the best estimates.

SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Nicosia, N., Pacula, R.L., Kilmer, B., Lundberg, R., and Chiesa, J., The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in the United States, 2005. Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 2009. Available online at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG829.

NSDUH Report: Children Living with Substance-Dependent or Substance-Abusing Parents: 2002 to 2007

Source: SAMHSA News Release, 4/29/09

Study: More Than 1 in 10 Children Live with a Substance Abusing

Almost 12 percent of children under the age of 18 years of age live with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol or an illicit drug during the past year, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report is based on national data from 2002 to 2007.

“The research increasingly shows that children growing up in homes with alcohol- and drug-abusing parents suffer – often greatly,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “The chronic emotional stress in such an environment can damage their social and emotional development and permanently impede healthy brain development, often resulting in mental and physical health problems across the lifespan. This underlines the importance of preventive interventions at the earliest possible age.”

Among the findings:

• Almost 7.3 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol
• About 2.1 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs
• 5.4 million children lived with a father who met the criteria for past year substance dependence or abuse, and 3.4 million lived with a mother who met this criteria.

The full report is available on the web  at http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/SAparents/SAparents.cfm

Copies may be obtained free of charge by calling SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727) or going to http://ncadistore.samhsa.gov/catalog/productDetails.aspx?ProductID=17245

New CDC Materials Regarding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Source:  MMWR Weekly, 4/24/2009, 58(15);403

April has been designated Alcohol Awareness Month in the United States to call attention to the problem of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related issues. Alcohol awareness is particularly important for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the leading preventable causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities. Effective strategies are needed to 1) identify women at risk and intervene and 2) diagnose and treat children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

CDC has developed new materials that can guide in the identification, prevention, and management of FASDs. These products include a curriculum development guide for use with health-care students and practitioners and recommendations from the National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect on promoting and improving strategies to 1) reduce alcohol use and alcohol-exposed pregnancies and 2) improve early identification, diagnostic services, and research on interventions for children with FASDs and their families. These new materials are available at http://www.cdc.gov/fasd.

NIDA Launches Drug Use Screening Tools for Physicians

Source: NIH News, 4/21/2009

NIDAMED Helps Doctors Provide the Best in Medical Care

Washington, D.C. – The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today unveiled its first comprehensive Physicians’ Outreach Initiative, NIDAMED, which gives medical professionals tools and resources to screen their patients for tobacco, alcohol, illicit, and nonmedical prescription drug use. The NIDAMED resources include an online screening tool, a companion quick reference guide, and a comprehensive resource guide for clinicians. The initiative stresses the importance of the patient-doctor relationship in identifying unhealthy behaviors before they evolve into life threatening conditions. 

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NIDAMED’s screening tool was adapted from the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST), developed, validated, and published by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective screening tool for identifying substance use. NIDA-modified ASSIST tools are specifically designed to fit into today’s busy clinical practices. Doctors can access the new tools at http://www.drugabuse.gov by clicking on the NIDAMED icon.

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NIDAMED was unveiled in conjunction with NIDA’s recently updated Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment: A Research Based Guide. This publication summarizes the 13 evidence-based principles of effective treatment, answers common questions, and describes types of treatment, providing examples of scientifically based and tested treatment components. The principles are based on three decades of scientific research and clinical practice that have yielded a variety of effective approaches to drug addiction treatment.

More information on all NIDAMED products and the Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment: A Research Based Guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov.

Click here to read this press release in its entirety.

New National Online Resource Provides Practical Advice and Hope for People Dealing with Emotional Health Issues Related to Financial Stress

Source: SAMHSA News Release, 3/31/09

Provides essential information on how economic conditions can affect physical and mental health and where people can turn for help

A first-of-its-kind, online guide now provides crucial information and resource referrals for people dealing with emotional or other health problems associated with economic hard times. The “Getting Through Tough Economic Times” guide http://www.samhsa.gov/economy/  provides practical advice on identifying health concerns, developing coping skills and finding help.

Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with other government agencies and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which is administered by SAMHSA’s grantee the Education Development Center, Inc., the guide outlines the risks that unemployment and other forms of economic distress (foreclosure, severe financial losses, etc.) can pose to health.

Based on a review of the scientific literature published in the last 20 years, the guide notes that although these economic problems may affect individuals differently, for many people economic hardship contributes to increased risk for a variety of conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
  • Substance abuse

On a positive note, the guide also provides individuals and communities with practical steps that can be used to get through these tough periods and achieve restored health and productivity.  In particular the guide provides:

  • Important information on identifying the warning signs of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses.
  • Effective steps to help manage emotional distress, such as through exercise, strengthening connections with family and friends, and developing new job skills.
  • Resources for getting help – such as the National Mental Health Information Center http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases/ for information on where to access help on a wide range of mental illnesses, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for those in crisis.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is operated by SAMHSA’s grantee Link2HealthSolutions, Inc, under a cooperative agreement.

“The guide is a quick and easy tool that people can use to better manage their emotional wellbeing,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H.  “By helping people remain resilient, we can help promote the overall recovery of our nation.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA is an agency with the Department of Health and Human Services), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. General Services Administration all collaborated in this effort.

For further information on mental health or substance abuse issues please visit SAMHSA’s website at http://www.samhsa.gov