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Drug Free Campus


Problem of Substance Abuse

Definitions of Terms:

Current illicit drug user:  Someone who has used illicit drugs at least once in the last month.
Binge drinking:
  Five or more drinks on one occasion.
Heavy drinking:
  Five or more drinks on five or more occasions in the past month.

Substance abuse places a major burden on all segments of American society, including the workplace.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse in America in 2015

Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).

Summary

This national report summarizes key findings from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for indicators of substance use and mental health among people aged 12 years old or older in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States. Results are provided for the overall category of individuals aged 12 or older as well as by age subgroups. The NSDUH questionnaire underwent a partial redesign in 2015 to improve the quality of the NSDUH data and to address the changing needs of policymakers and researchers with regard to substance use and mental health issues. Trends continue to be presented for estimates that are assumed to have remained comparable with those in earlier years (e.g., marijuana and heroin use trends for 2002 to 2015 and mental health trends typically for 2008 to 2015).

Illicit Drug Use

Changes in measurement for 7 of the 10 illicit drug categories—hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, and the misuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives—may have affected the comparability of the measurement of these illicit drugs. 1 Therefore, only 2015 estimates are presented for these seven illicit drug categories and for the use of any illicit drug. In 2015, 27.1 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days, which corresponds to about 1 in 10 Americans (10.1 percent). The illicit drug use estimate for 2015 continues to be driven primarily by marijuana use and the misuse of prescription pain relievers, with 22.2 million current marijuana users aged 12 or older (i.e., users in the past 30 days) and 3.8 million people aged 12 or older who reported current misuse of prescription pain relievers. The 2015 estimate of current marijuana users was similar to the estimate in 2014, but it was higher than the estimates from 2002 to 2013. This increase in marijuana use among people aged 12 or older reflects the increase in marijuana use by adults aged 26 or older and, to a lesser extent, the increase in marijuana use among young adults aged 18 to 25.

In 2015, NSDUH adopted a revised definition of prescription drug misuse, which defined misuse as use in any way not directed by a doctor, including use without a prescription of one's own; use in greater amounts, more often, or longer than told to take a drug; or use in any other way not directed by a doctor. The estimated 3.8 million people aged 12 or older who were current misusers of pain relievers represent 1.4 percent of the population aged 12 or older.

The estimate of current heroin use in 2015 among people aged 12 or older was higher than the estimates in most years between 2002 and 2009, but it was similar to the estimates between 2010 and 2014. Current cocaine use in 2015 was similar to the estimates in most years between 2007 and 2013, but it was higher than the estimate in 2014. The 2015 estimate of crack use was similar to the estimates in most years from 2008 to 2014. There were new baselines in 2015 for hallucinogen, inhalant, and methamphetamine use (0.5, 0.2, and 0.3 percent, respectively, for current use among people aged 12 or older).

Tobacco Use

In 2015, an estimated 52.0 million people aged 12 or older were current cigarette smokers. Although about 1 in 5 people aged 12 or older were current cigarette smokers, cigarette use generally declined between 2002 and 2015 across all age groups. Among the 52.0 million current cigarette smokers in 2015, 30.2 million were daily cigarette smokers, including 12.4 million daily smokers who smoked approximately a pack or more of cigarettes per day.

Alcohol Use

NSDUH collects information on past month alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and heavy alcohol use. For men, binge alcohol use is defined in NSDUH as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. For women, binge drinking is defined as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days. In 2015, there were 138.3 million Americans aged 12 or older who reported current use of alcohol, including 66.7 million who reported binge alcohol use in the past month and 17.3 million who reported heavy alcohol use in the past month. Past month binge drinkers and heavy alcohol users represented 24.9 and 6.5 percent of people aged 12 or older, respectively.

Underage alcohol use (i.e., among people aged 12 to 20) and binge and heavy use among young adults aged 18 to 25 are a concern. In 2015, about 7.7 million people aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month, including 5.1 million who reported binge alcohol use and 1.3 million who reported heavy alcohol use. Among all people aged 12 to 20 in 2015, 13.4 percent were binge drinkers, and 3.3 percent were heavy drinkers. About 2 out of 5 young adults aged 18 to 25 were current binge alcohol users, and 1 out of every 10 young adults were heavy alcohol users.

Substance Use Disorders

In 2015, approximately 20.8 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year, 2 including 15.7 million people who had an alcohol use disorder and 7.7 million people who had an illicit drug use disorder. The percentage of people aged 12 or older with an alcohol use disorder (5.9 percent) in 2015 was lower than the percentages in 2002 to 2014. Due to revisions to the NSDUH illicit drug questions, estimates in 2015 for any illicit drug use disorder are not compared with estimates from previous years.

Substance Use Treatment

In 2015, an estimated 21.7 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment (i.e., treatment for problems related to the use of alcohol or illicit drugs), or about 1 in 12 people (8.1 percent). For NSDUH, people are defined as needing substance use treatment if they had an SUD in the past year or if they received substance use treatment at a specialty facility in the past year. 3

In 2015, 14.0 percent of people aged 12 or older (3.0 million people) who needed substance use treatment received treatment in the past year, and 10.8 percent of people aged 12 or older (2.3 million people) who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.

Mental Health Issues among Adults

In 2015, an estimated 43.4 million adults aged 18 or older (17.9 percent) had any mental illness (AMI) in the past year. An estimated 9.8 million adults in the nation had a serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year, representing 4.0 percent of all U.S. adults in 2015. 4 The percentage of adults with AMI and the percentage of adults with SMI remained stable from 2008 to 2015. In 2015, 6.7 percent of adults aged 18 or older (16.1 million adults) had at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year, and 4.3 percent (10.3 million adults) had an MDE with severe impairment in the past year. 5 The percentage of adults who had a past year MDE remained stable between 2005 and 2015.

Mental Health Service Use among Adults

In 2015, an estimated 34.2 million adults (14.2 percent of adults) received mental health care during the past 12 months. Among the 43.4 million adults with AMI, 18.6 million (43.1 percent) received mental health services in the past year. About 6.4 million of the 9.8 million adults with past year SMI (65.3 percent) received mental health services in the past year. The percentage of adults with AMI who received mental health care in 2015 was similar to the percentages in most years from 2008 to 2014.

Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders among Adults

An estimated 8.1 million adults (3.3 percent of all adults) had both AMI and SUDs in the past year, and 2.3 million adults (1.0 percent of all adults) had co-occurring SMI and SUDs in the past year. Among the 8.1 million adults with co-occurring AMI and an SUD in the past year, 48.0 percent received either substance use treatment at a specialty facility or mental health care in the past year. Among the 2.3 million adults who had co-occurring SMI and an SUD in the past year, 62.6 percent received either substance use treatment at a specialty facility or mental health care in the past year.

Mental Health Issues among Adolescents

In 2015, 12.5 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (3.0 million adolescents) had an MDE during the past year, and 8.8 percent of adolescents (2.1 million adolescents) had a past year MDE with severe impairment. 5 The percentage of adolescents in 2015 who had a past year MDE was higher than the percentages in 2004 to 2014. Among the 3.0 million adolescents in 2015 who had a past year MDE, 1.2 million (39.3 percent) received treatment for depression. This 2015 percentage was similar to the percentages in most years from 2004 to 2014.

Co-Occurring MDE and Substance Use among Adolescents

In 2015, the percentage of adolescents who used illicit drugs in the past year was higher among those with a past year MDE than it was among those without a past year MDE (31.5 vs. 15.3 percent). An estimated 350,000 adolescents in 2015 had an SUD and an MDE in the past year. This number represents 1.4 percent of all adolescents in the United States. Among adolescents who had a co-occurring MDE and an SUD in the past year, 63.1 percent received either substance use treatment at a specialty facility or mental health services in the past year.

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East Tennessee State University Policy Statement on Drug Free Campus

It is the policy of this university that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, use of alcohol and illicit drugs on the ETSU campus in the workplace (on or off campus), on property owned or controlled by ETSU, or as part of any activity of ETSU is strictly prohibited.  All employees and students are subject to applicable federal, state and local laws related to this matter. Additionally, any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action.

For complete policy information, see ETSU's Policy Statement on Drug Free Campus, PPP-26

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Health Risks Associated With the Use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol

There are many health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol including organic damage; impairment of brain activity, digestion, and blood circulation; impairment of physiological processes and mental functioning; and, physical and psychological dependence.  Such use during pregnancy may cause spontaneous abortion, various birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome.  Additionally, the illicit use of drugs increases the risk of contracting hepatitis, AIDS and other infections.  If used excessively, the use of alcohol or drugs singularly or in certain combinations may cause death.

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Helpful websites: 

(ETSU is not responsible for off-campus site content)

  1. US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

  2. Partnership for a Drug Free America


Available Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Treatment, Rehabilitation Programs, and Employee Assistance Programs

(ETSU is not responsible for off-campus site content)

Partners for Health
(TTY)
(855) 437-3486
(800) 456-4006
ETSU Employee Assistance Program (423) 439-5825
ETSU Department of Public Safety (423) 439-4480

Alcoholics Anonymous  (24-Hour Hotline)

(423) 928-0871
Comprehensive Community Services
(Alcohol & Drug  Counseling & Prevention Center)
(423) 928-6581
Woodridge Hospital (423) 431-7111
Woodridge Hospital Mental Health Crisis Hotline (800) 366-1132
Frontier Health Crisis Services
24-Hour Helpline
(423) 467-3600
(877) 928-9062
Alcoholics Anonymous - East Tennessee Information (865) 974-9888

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