A report released by the U.S. Surgeon General concludes one in seven people in the U.S. is expected to develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health notes that while substance misuse and use disorders may occur at any age, adolescence and young adulthood are particularly critical periods.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Iowa Youth Survey (2014) found 23 percent of Iowa 11th grade students had reported having one drink of alcohol (glass, bottle, or can of beer, glass of wine, liquor, or mixed drink) in the last month and 14 percent binge drank, meaning they had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row within a couple of hours.
IDPH has several initiatives dedicated to reducing underage drinking in Iowa, including community coalitions, media campaigns and prevention services. Details may be found at idph.iowa.gov/substance-abuse/prevention.
“Parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders in Iowa can make a difference by having conversations with youth about substance use and by modeling healthy choices and behaviors,” said Julie Hibben, IDPH Iowa Partnerships for Success Project Director. For example, the frequency of binge drinking, illicit drug use, and cigarette smoking is lower among youth aged 12-17 whose parents always or sometimes engage in monitoring behaviors, like helping with homework, compared to youth whose parents seldom or never engage in such behaviors.
The Surgeon General’s report also addresses the growing problem of opioid and prescription drug misuse. While alcohol and marijuana remain the primary substances of abuse in Iowa, a growing number of Iowans now identify heroin and other opioids as their drug of choice at the time of admission to treatment. In 2005, 608 Iowans admitted to treatment named heroin or other opioids as their primary substance of misuse; in 2014, the number rose to 1,999. For the past 20 years, IDPH has funded selected opioid treatment programs to provide medication assisted treatment to Iowans in the form of methadone maintenance. As approaches to medication assisted treatment continued to evolve, through its Access to Recovery (ATR) grant, IDPH began funding additional medications such as Naltrexone and Buprenorphine. In 2015, IDPH was awarded a Medication Assisted Treatment – Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) grant to further support Iowa’s efforts in addressing opioid misuse.
For more information about heroin and opioid dependency treatment options in Iowa, please visit the IDPH Medication Assisted Treatment webpage at idph.iowa.gov/mat. To see the Surgeon General’s Report, visit http://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/.