Prescription Drugs: The Escalation of Use and Abuse

March 28, 2017

“It’s becoming a sadly common story. People get prescribed painkillers. They become addicted and they seek out cheaper and more potent drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids.” –Lulu Garcia Navarro, Family member of an opioid victim, NPR News (2017)

Throughout the United States, prescription drug abuse has become a major public health concern.

rx.jpgIn 2015, research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that, between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled. Findings have indicated that the two distinct but interconnected trends that are driving America’s opioid overdose epidemic include:

  • an increase in prescribed opioid drugs
  • a recent surge in illicit opioid overdoses, driven mainly by heroin and illegally-made Fentanyl

The use of highly addictive opioid prescription drugs has repercussions that extend far beyond the individual user. Economic consequences include its impact on work and educational productivity as well as the cost of treatment and incarceration. According to a 2011 study by the American Public Health Association, in 2006, “nonmedical use of prescription painkillers imposed a cost of $53.4 billion on the US economy, including $42 billion in lost productivity, $8.2 billion in increased criminal justice costs, $2.2 billion for drug abuse treatment, and $944 million in medical complications” (AHPA, 2015).

Although a variety of treatments are available for heroin and prescription drug addiction, it is also vital and far more cost effective to help prevent the health risk behaviors related to opioid drug abuse. Botvin LifeSkills Training is an effective skills-based and evidence-based prevention program that can be utilized as a strategic measure to combat the growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse. And now, National Health Promotion Associates, the researchers behind LifeSkills Training, has developed a middle school prescription drug abuse prevention program. The program utilizes both digital and face-to-face intervention modalities to help young adults learn healthy behavioral social and self-regulation skills such as managing stress and anxiety, as well as drug resistance skills. “The combination of drug resistance skills and life skills has been proven to be a powerful formula for preventing drug use and can be carried over throughout their teen years” (Botvin, 2016).

According to research conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) the use of effective prevention programs like LifeSkills Training have shown to produce a  50-to-1 return, which has been noted as the highest return on investment of any substance abuse prevention curriculum studied.

It has never been a more important time to continue to pressure our legislative representatives, public health agencies, and school administrators to implement programs like LifeSkills Training as a means to help young adults make healthy choices and avoid the damaging effects of prescription drug use and abuse.

Contributing Writer: Madeline Liongson recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies as well as a Minor in Psychology. Her previous volunteer experience includes working with a wide range of students and healthcare professionals from diverse populations in Connecticut, New York and London, UK. Currently Madeline serves as the youngest Youth Board Member for the American Red Cross in the Metro New York Territory and works as a part-time Administrative Assistant at a Speech Language Pathology and Social Development center while she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health.


Can prevention programs make an impact in high school?

March 27, 2017

Yes! Research shows that drug prevention also works with High School students!

HS no bgstudy published in the World Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the LifeSkills Training High School Program:

  • cuts drug abuse in half
  • works with a broad range of students
  • is a cost-effective approach to a major public health problem

Do you want to get trained to teach this program in your school/community? Register for the online training workshop on April 5, 2017. Space is limited so register early and save.

 


Up to $10 million in “Resiliency in Communities After Stress & Trauma” Grants Available from SAMHSA

March 23, 2017

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) grants totaling up to $10 million over the course of five years.

moneyThe purpose of this program is to assist high-risk youth and families and promote resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest through implementation of evidence-based, violence prevention, and community youth engagement programs. The grants will also help promote access to trauma-informed behavioral health services.

SAMHSA expects to award up to two grantees up to $1 million each annually. The length of the project period will be up to five years, with projected available funding totaling $10 million. The actual amount may vary, depending on the availability of funds.

WHO MAY APPLY: Eligible applicants are municipalities, including counties, cities, and other local governments, in partnership with community-based organizations in communities that have faced civil unrest in the past 24 months. See Section III-1 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for complete eligibility information.

HOW TO APPLY: You must go to http://www.grants.gov and the SAMHSA website http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/applying to download the required documents to apply for this SAMHSA grant. Your application must be submitted through http://www.Grants.gov. Please refer to PART II, Section I-1 and Section II-1 of the FOA for registration requirements.

APPLICATION DUE DATE: May 17, 2017 by 11:59 pm Eastern time. Applications must be received by the due date and time to be considered for review. Please carefully review Part II of the FOA, Section IV for application and submission requirements.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Applicants with questions about program issues should contact Melodye Watson at (240) 276-1748 or recast@samhsa.hhs.gov(link sends e-mail). For questions on grants management issues contact Gwen Simpson at (240) 276-1408 or FOACMHS@samhsa.hhs.gov(link sends e-mail).

 

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.


Funding available for drug prevention programs> Deadlines approaching!

March 14, 2017
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Below is a list of funding opportunities that may be applicable for the Botvin LifeSkills Training program.
For more detailed information on each funding opportunity and contact information click here.
 
FUNDING FOR BOTVIN LIFESKILLS TRAINING IN PENNSYLVANIA
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is accepting applications for Delinquency Prevention Programs Funds to support a targeted group of evidence-based programs proven to be effective in reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors.   The 2017 Funding Announcement includes a list of programs eligible for funding under this announcement including Botvin LifeSkills Training.
Application deadline is 3/14/17
 

 

DRUG-FREE COMMUNITIES SUPPORT PROGRAM GRANT
The FY 2017 Drug-Free Communities Support Program funding opportunity by the Office of National Drug Control Policy anticipates award amounts up to $125,000. The DFC Support Program establishes and strengthens collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth.
Application deadline is 3/15/17
 

 

GOOD SHEPHERD GRANTS FOR NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA 
The Good Shepherd Fund, Inc. offers grants to community agencies for substance abuse prevention and education.  Community agencies in Columbus, Bladen, Robeson, New Hanover and Brunswick counties in North Carolina and Horry County of South Carolina are eligible for grant funds.  Each year mini grants are awarded on a competitive basis to selected non-profit or governmental agencies.
Application deadline is 3/15/17
 

 

GRANT PROJECTS AIMED AT PREVENTING SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN IDAHO
The Idaho Office of Drug Policy (ODP) is accepting applications for grant projects aimed at preventing substance abuse. Public entities and non-profit organizations are eligible for funding and encouraged to apply for grants totaling about $1.6 million annually to Idaho communities for substance abuse prevention programs.  ODP endorses Prevention education and training that provides specific skills to participants.

Application deadline is 3/24/17

 

 

$3.6 MILLION AVAILABLE FOR BOTVIN LIFESKILLS TRAINING IN ARIZONA
The Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family announced the release of a competitive grant solicitation in a Request for Grant Application for the Arizona High School Health and Wellness Program. The goal of the program is to prevent the onset of underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse and abuse by utilizing evidence based programs. Research has identified Botvin LifeSkills Training as an approved program under this grant.
Application deadline is 4/4/17
 

 

VIRGINIA ABC OFFERS ALCOHOL PREVENTION GRANT
In an effort to encourage and support the development of alcohol education and prevention programs across the commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is accepting applications for its 2017-2018 Education and Prevention Grant awards. Grant awards will be limited to a maximum of $8,000 per recipient. Community coalitions, law enforcement agencies, nonprofits, schools, faith-based organizations and prevention groups are encouraged to apply.
Application deadline is 4/25/17
 

 

DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION FUND ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS IN ILLINOIS
The Freeport Community Foundation announces that the John M. Drogosz Youth Substance Abuse Prevention/Treatment Memorial Fund will award  grants for educational, prevention, and/or substance abuse treatment programs focused on helping youth age 21 or younger in Freeport, Illinois. Grant amounts vary on a project-by-project basis. To be eligible, organizations must have 501(c)(3) status.
Application deadline is 6/1/17

Cutting the Costs: Prevention is worth the investment

March 2, 2017

There’s an old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when referring to health-related issues. Preventive measures such as health education or health screenings have been shown to help combat major public health issues and be cost-effective in the long-term.

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that in 2015, tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug abuse cost the United States more than $700 billion in expenses related to:

  • Crime
  • Lost work productivity
  • Health care

According to the National Institutes of Health, to ensure that high-quality disease prevention research is being used to improve the health of all Americans, it is important to apply evidence-based research when making decisions and designing programs and interventions. The Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program has been tested in a series of randomized trials and found effective in preventing cigarette smoking, alcohol, and drug use as well as other risky health behaviors in youth.

What makes LST stand out from other abuse prevention programs is it’s curriculum focusing on topics that support resisting the pressure to use drugs, such as developing a strong self-image and skills in decision making and communication.

Researchers found that the program produced as much as a $50 benefit to communities for every $1 invested –yielding the highest return of any substance abuse prevention curriculum studied.

The implementation process is also user friendly and convenient in that there are:

  • Interactive delivery methods
  • Brief provider trainings
  • Convenient online exercises

Therefore, when working to combat the substance abuse epidemic in the U.S., it is important that health professionals and policymakers focus not only on the health benefits of prevention but also become aware of the potential economic benefits of different prevention methods in order to make informed decisions for funding and resources.

 

Contributing Writer: Christina Auth recently graduated from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a minor in Sociology.  She is currently interested in global health issues and has studied abroad in countries such as Australia, Barbados, and South Africa observing and researching from an ecological perspective; rural health issues, tropical diseases, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Christina is passionate about epidemiology and environmental health issues that affect diverse communities.  Some of her career aspirations include getting her Masters of Public Health, working for the Peace Corps., and becoming a college professor. In her free time she likes to go on hikes near her house because South Carolina was extremely flat or travel to visit friends in other cities.  She is a huge soup fanatic and loves the band Coldplay.


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