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PA Tracks National Averages in Most Behavioral Health Metrics; Heroin Use/Adult Mental Health Service Use Higher

August 11, 2017

Earlier this week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the fourth edition of its Behavioral Health Barometer report, providing national and state-by-state information about the prevalence of substance use.

Sources: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Pennsylvania’s annual averages in substance use prevalence are similar to national annual averages across most measures in youth and adult substance use or mental health illness. But in two metrics, Pennsylvania’s annual averages were higher than national averages:

  • Mental health service use among adults with any mental illness
  • Substance use and substance use disorders for heroin use

Substance use disorders for heroin use has been a major challenge for Pennsylvania. Heroin is one of the most frequently reported drugs related to overdose deaths in the state.

Source: Drug Enforcement Agency, University of Pittsburgh

The behavioral health barometer report released by SAMHSA uses survey data between 2011 to 2015 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health The behavioral health barometer report covers a variety of substance use areas for both youth and adult demographics, including:

  • Marijuana use
  • Cigarette use
  • Alcohol use
  • Substance Use
  • Heroin use
  • Suicide
  • Other Serious mental illnesses

HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems are working with communities to address major challenges in substance use and substance use disorders.

In South Central Pennsylvania, hospitals and health systems are working with health care professionals across the care continuum and the regional community to address the opioid and heroin epidemic through awareness, education, and action. This South Central Pennsylvania Opioid Awareness Coalition is also developing helpful guidance for the general public.

In addition to working with Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems, HAP continues to monitor state guidelines and state and federal legislation and share relevant information.

On the mental health front, HAP is advocating for access to care changes that remove barriers to co-locating physical health and mental health services, as well as state and federal policies that protect health insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services.

Behavioral Health Barometer: Pennsylvania, Volume 4: Indicators as measured through the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, and the Uniform Reporting System is one of a series of national and state reports that provide a snapshot of behavioral health in the United States. The report presents a set of substance use and mental health indicators that provide an overview of the nation’s behavioral health at a point in time as well as a process for tracking change and trends over time.

For more information about behavioral health and substance use services, please contact Michael Consuelos, MD, senior vice president, clinical integration.

For more information about the behavioral health barometer report or the South Central Pennsylvania Opioid Awareness Coalition, please contact Phillip M. Burrell, director, health market research.

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