June 2024 News Roundup

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Every month, we’re bringing you the top news in addiction treatment and justice services from publications around the country.

Addiction treatment | Justice services | What we're reading



Addiction treatment

Federal study examines care following nonfatal overdose among Medicare beneficiaries


A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that of 137,000 Medicare beneficiaries who survived a 2020 overdose, 17.4% experienced another nonfatal overdose and 1% had a fatal overdose in the following year. Effective interventions, including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and naloxone, significantly reduced the risk of subsequent overdoses, with methadone, buprenorphine, and behavioral health services notably lowering mortality rates.

The study emphasizes the need for timely, high-quality care and recent policy changes to improve access to life-saving treatments and support for overdose survivors. "In short, medications for opioid use disorder, opioid overdose reversal medications, and behavioral health supports save lives," said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA.

Read more | Explore our addiction treatment curricula


Nearly one in three Americans have reported losing someone to a drug overdose


A survey, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that 32% of people have known someone who has died of a drug overdose. Researches noted the prevalence of opioids has contributed to the overdose rate.

Those who reported knowing someone who has passed away from drug use were more likely to support policy aimed at curbing addiction. The findings suggest that mobilizing those who have experienced losing someone to drug overdose may be an avenue to facilitate policy change.

Read more | Download our opioid abatement white paper

Over 3 million annual deaths due to alcohol and drug use, majority among men


A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that 2.6 million deaths per year were attributable to alcohol consumption and 0.6 million deaths to drug use. Notably, 2 million of alcohol and 0.4 million of drug-attributable deaths were among men. WHO notes the significance of these numbers, despite the decreasing trends of alcohol use in recent years.

A closer look

WHO advises action in eight strategic areas: 

  1. increase awareness through a coordinated global advocacy campaign
  2. strengthen prevention and treatment capacity of health and social care systems
  3. scale up training of health professionals
  4. re-commit to the implementation of the Global Alcohol Action Plan 2022-2030 with a focus on the SAFER package
  5. accelerate international efforts on capacity-building and knowledge transfer
  6. engage civil society organizations, professional associations and people with lived experience
  7. improve multi-level monitoring systems and corresponding research capacity
  8. scale up resource mobilization, allocation, and innovative funding mechanisms to strengthen capacity of health and social systems

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Justice services


About 2% of adult U.S. residents were under correctional supervision in 2022


Two reports released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) on 2022 correctional populations and 2022 probation and parole illustrate statistics on the numbers of justice-involved persons in the U.S. About 1 in 48 adult U.S. residents (2%) were under some form of correctional supervision at the end of 2022. More than two-thirds of persons under correctional supervision were supervised in the community on probation or parole (3,668,800), while almost one-third (1,827,600) were incarcerated in state or federal prisons or local jails.

Read more | Explore our justice services solutions


BJS releases 2023 preliminary jail data in new report


This Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report provides preliminary statistics on key items from the annual jail data collection, including the number of inmates held in local jails — by inmate demographics and conviction status, the number of admissions to jail and jail incarceration rates between 2013 and 2023.

Highlighted data

  • At midyear 2023, local jails held 664,200 persons in custody, similar to the year before (663,100).
  • Jails reported 7.6 million admissions from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. While this represents a 4% increase over the 7.3 million admissions the year before, annual admissions were 35% lower than 10 years ago (11.7 million).
  • Local jails held 95,100 females at midyear 2023, accounting for 14% of the confined population.
  • At midyear 2023, 70% of the jail population (467,600) was unconvicted and awaiting court action on a current charge or being held in jail for other reasons. The remaining 30% (196,600) was convicted and either serving a sentence or awaiting sentencing on a conviction.

Read the report | Explore our jail-focused solutions


AMA's House of Delegates says "yes" to drug decriminalization


The American Medical Association (AMA) voted 345-171 to support eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession for personal use at the annual House of Delegates meeting.

Proponents cited that 1.16 million Americans are arrested annually for drug related offenses (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 2024); between 2009-2019, 87% of drug arrests were for possession, as opposed to sale or manufacturing (Pew 28 Charitable Trusts, 2022); and in the federal prison system, more than 44 percent of individuals were incarcerated because of a drug-related offense (Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2024).

A closer look

"The revised language from the AMA's reference committee calls for 'elimination of criminal penalties for drug possession for personal use as part of a larger set of related public health and legal reforms designed to improve carefully selected outcomes.' ... Stephen Taylor, MD, MPH, of Atlanta, Georgia, who spoke for the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), said ASAM suggested the new language to the reference committee because 'there is, in fact, evidence that decriminalization can have public health benefits if it is done correctly. We would suggest that we have yet to see it done correctly' in the U.S."

Read more 



What we're reading


Jesse Tillotson, Sr. National Director of Justice Services at The Change Companies, recommends Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

"It includes some of the most fundamental, profound and practical tenets for living life, written by a Roman emperor. It also happens to have a lot of parallels to what we all do for a living."