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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.1112
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NSDUH 2011 survey shows decline in teen drinking: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Survey data indicate that rates of past-month drinking among underage Americans continued a decline from 2002. Past-month alcohol use among youths age 12–20 declined from 28.8% in 2002 to 25.1% in 2011, while binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion) declined from 19.3% to 15.8% and heavy drinking declined from 6.2% to 4.4%. Rates of past-month tobacco use by youths age 12 to 17 declined from 15.2% in 2002 to 10.0% in 2011. Overall, illicit drug use among Americans age 12 and older remained unchanged since the 2010 survey: 8.7% (22.5 million people) were past-month illicit drug users in 2011 (8.9% in 2010). Marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug; in 2011, 7.0% of Americans were current users, up from 5.8% in 2007. According to the survey report, 21.6 million Americans needed treatment for a substance use problem in 2011 and only 2.3 million (or 10.8% of those in need) received it in a specialized treatment setting, including hospitals (inpatient only), drug or alcohol rehabilitation facilities (inpatient or outpatient), or mental health centers. The survey findings are available on the SAMHSA Web site at www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k11Results/NSDUHresults2011.pdf.

Premiums rise for employer-sponsored insurance: Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $15,745 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $4,316 toward the cost of their coverage, according to the 14th annual Employer Health Benefits Survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Health Research and Educational Trust. The increase is moderate by historical standards, but it outpaced growth in workers’ wages (1.7%) and general inflation (2.3%). Since 2002, premiums have increased 97%, three times as fast as wages (33%) and inflation (28%). The survey reveals significant differences in worker premium contributions between firms with many lower-wage workers (≥35% of workers earn ≤$24,000) and firms with many higher-wage workers (≥35% earning ≥$55,000), with the former paying $1,000 more each year for family coverage ($4,977 and $3,968, respectively). Workers at lower-wage firms are also more likely to face high deductibles: 44% face an annual deductible of ≥$1,000, compared with 29% of those at firms with many high-wage workers. The survey estimates that 2.9 million young adults are currently covered by employer plans this year as a result of a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, up from the 2.3 million in the 2011 survey. The 2012 survey included more than 2,000 randomly selected public and private firms with three or more employees. The 241-page report is available on the KFF Web site at ehbs.kff.org.

CSG Justice Center report on lower recidivism rates: As budgets tighten, many states have focused on reducing the likelihood that a person released from prison or jail will reoffend and be reincarcerated. These efforts have been effective in several states, according to an eight-page policy brief released by the Council of State Government’s (CSG) Justice Center. The states profiled in the report (Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont) showed significant declines in three-year recidivism rates on the basis of data for individuals released from prison in 2005–2007. Texas and Ohio reported reductions of 11%, the Kansas rate fell by 15%, and Michigan's rate dropped by 18%. In addition to presenting rate data for each state, the report describes legislation and initiatives used in each state to reduce recidivism. The report is available on the Justice Center Web site at justicecenter.csg.org.

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