Congress Holds Hearings on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held hearings to discuss issues related to mental health, including youth mental health and substance use disorders. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy was the sole witness at the Finance Committee’s hearing, while the HELP Committee featured Chief Science Officer of the American Psychological Association Dr. Mitch Prinstein (a member of the COSSA Board of Directors), Vice Chair of Education in the Psychiatry Department at Boston Medical Center Dr. Michelle Durham, Director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other…

NC State Psychologists Answer “Why Social Science?”

The latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Jeni L. Burnette, & Sarah L. Desmarais psychologists at North Carolina State University, who write about how messaging public health epidemics like addiction and obesity as “diseases” can change how people feel about these conditions and affect whether people seek to get treatment. Read it here and subscribe. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Anthropologist Lee Hoffer Answers “Why Social Science?”

The latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Lee Hoffer, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University, who writes about how participatory research involving people suffering from substance use disorders can give us new perspectives on addiction. Read it here and subscribe. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

U.S. Surgeon General Releases Landmark Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

On November 17, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy released the first-ever Surgeon General’s report on the substance abuse health afflicting communities. The comprehensive report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, reviews the science of substance use, misuse, and disorders, providing an in-depth look with chapters covering neurobiology, prevention, treatment, recovery, health systems integration, as well as recommendations for the future.  It also calls for a “cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the issue,” and recommends actions that can be taken to prevent and treat these conditions, as well as promote recovery….

NIDA Announces New Challenge: “Addiction Research: There’s an App for that”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced a new Challenge/Prize Competition, “Addiction Research: There’s an App for that.” The objective for the challenge is to “promote the development of innovative mobile applications (apps) for future addiction studies.” According to the notice, three prizes may be awarded: $50,000 (first place); $30,000 (second place); and $20,000 (third place). The NIDA Challenge is enabled by the DHHS IDEA Lab program. Challenge partners include U.S. General Services Administration; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Sage Bionetworks;…

NRC Workshop Discusses Changing Social Norms

The National Research Council’s Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Norms held its first workshop on March 18, “Lessons Learned from Diverse Efforts to Change Social Norms.” The project, which is housed within the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, is co-sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The committee is charged with helping SAMHSA “implement strategies that improve attitudes and beliefs about mental and substance use disorders.” Sessions focused on messaging strategies, methods for…


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