Printer Friendly

Progress in substance abuse indicators of Healthy People 2020: implications for research and practice.

Every ten years the United States Department of Health and Human Services sets up science-based objectives with regard to the nation's health. Currently we have the Healthy People 2020 objectives, launched on December 2, 2010, that is guiding the progress of the nation with regard to health indicators.

The mission of the Healthy People 2020 is to (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a):

* Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.

* Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, disability and the opportunities for progress.

* Provide measurable objectives and goals that are applicable at the National, State, and Local levels.

* Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.

* Identify critical research, evaluation and data collection needs.

In this editorial we will be discussing some of the Healthy People 2020 objectives with regard to substance abuse, their progress and what can be done to improve these objectives. It is not possible to discuss all the objectives here and the reader is directed to the government's website for more information and current data.

With regard to percent adolescents in grades 9-12 who, within the past 30 days, rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol (SA-1) the Healthy People 2020 objective was to reduce it to 25.5% from a 2009 baseline of 28.8%. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). Progress in 2013 showed that this objective has been met with only 21.9% riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). However, it is still at an alarming level with almost one fifth of the students performing the risky behavior. There is a definitive need for more alcohol prevention interventions in high schools.

With regard to SA-2.1: Increase the proportion of at risk adolescents aged 12 to 17 years who, in the past year, refrained from using alcohol for the first time. The Healthy People 2020 objective was to increase it to 94.2% from a baseline of 85.6% in 2008 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). Progress in 2012 showed that this objective had increased to 87.3% but still short of the proposed target (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). Based on social cognitive theory (Bandura, 2004), educational programs that build expectancies and self-efficacy to abstain from alcohol and reduce alcohol from the environment would go a long way in increasing the proportion of adolescents who abstain from alcohol.

With regard to SA-2.2: Increase the proportion of at risk adolescents aged 12 to 17 years who, in the past year, refrained from using marijuana for the first time. The Healthy People 2020 objective was to increase it to 96.3% from a baseline of 94.3% in 2008 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). Progress in 2012 showed that this objective had made no change (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). Marijuana use, even though it continues to affect a small proportion of youth, still needs to be curbed through effective educational and policy interventions.

With regard to the Healthy People 2020 objective of SA-2.3: Increase the proportion of high school seniors never using alcoholic beverages. The target was to increase this percentage from 27.7% in 2009 to 30.5% by the year 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). Progress in 2012 showed that this objective had been achieved with 31.8% not using alcoholic beverages (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). There is a need to be more aggressive with this objective and by 2030 the target should be at least 50%.

With regard to the Healthy People 2020 objective of SA-2.4: Increase the proportion of high school seniors never using illicit drugs. The target was to increase this percentage from 53.3% in 2009 to 58.6% by the year 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). Progress in 2013 showed that this objective had moved in the reverse direction with only 49.3% high school seniors never using illicit drugs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). This is very alarming and more efforts need to be undertaken to reach the target of 2020. These trends show that illicit drugs are once again gaining popularity among our youth. Educational and policy interventions need to be implemented to check this trend.

With regard to the Healthy People 2020 objective of SA-4.1: Increase the proportion of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years perceiving great risk associated with substance abuse--Consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at a single occasion once or twice a week was to increase this percentage from 40.0% in 2008 to 44.0% by the year 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). Progress in 2013 showed that this objective had moved in the reverse direction with only 39.7% high school seniors perceiving great risk in consuming 5+ alcoholic drinks once or twice a week (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). Drinking five or more drinks in one sitting is called binge drinking and has a lot of harmful consequences. Educational interventions to curb such problem drinking need to be designed and implemented in high schools.

With regard to the Healthy People 2020 objective of SA-6: Increase the number of States with mandatory ignition interlock laws for first and repeat impaired driving offenders in the United States. The target was to increase the number of states to 51 from 13 in 2009 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). No progress data is available in this regard (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015b). Such policy measures are vital for the nation and all states must make efforts to make such laws.

With regard to the Healthy People 2020 objective of SA-8.1: Increase the proportion of persons who need illicit drug treatment and received specialty treatment for abuse or dependence in the past year. The target was to increase the percentage from 16% in 2008 to 17.6% by 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015a). By 2012 this percentage had increased to 19.1% indicating satisfactory progress.

So we see that the progress with regard to the objectives of Healthy People 2020 is mixed with some indicators on the right track, some indicators having surpassed the targets and some indicators lagging behind in their progress. More educational and policy level interventions are needed at the local levels in order to make progress in the national objectives. Alcohol and drug practitioners and researchers need to design, implement and evaluate more evidence-based interventions in their communities.

Manoj Sharma, MBBS, MCHES, Ph.D., FAAHB

Professor, Behavioral & Environmental Health

Jackson State University

350 West Woodrow Wilson Avenue

Jackson, MS 39213

(601) 979-8850 (Phone)

(601 979-8848 (Fax)

manoj.sharma@jsums.edu (E-mail)

REFERENCES

Bandura, A. (2004). Health promotion by social cognitive means. Health Education and Behavior, 31, 143-164.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2015a). Healthy People 2020 Objectives. Retrieved from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/ topicsobiectives2020/default

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2015a). Healthy People 2020 Objective Data Search. Retrieved from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/data-search/Search-the Data?f[]=field_topic_area%3A3500&f[]=field_topic_area%3A3510&ci=0&se=0&pop=
COPYRIGHT 2015 American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Sharma, Manoj
Publication:Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2015
Words:1249
Previous Article:Adolescent criminal acts committed and substance use with a voluntary sample recruited from post-secondary institutions.
Next Article:A closer look at party hosting behaviors within off-campus college settings.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters