Predicting risky drinking: It might be all in the words

August 15, 2017

Rachel Kornfield
PhD Candidate
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Research Assistant 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 

The A-CHESS smartphone app provides addiction recovery services on-demand.  Analyzing the language used in A-CHESS discussion forums is helping researchers predict the likelihood of relapse. 
The words we say in daily conversation can provide a powerful window into our state of mind, including our moods, concerns, and priorities. General topics of discussion can be revealing (for example, if we’re talking about friends, the weather, or problems at work). But even more is often revealed by subtler styles of speech, including the pronouns we use, our emotional tone, and how we put our sentences together. These subtle linguistic differences are especially meaningful in an age when computers play an ever-increasing role in our lives. Technology and social media provide an array of new outlets through which to communicate. At the same time, computer science offers new tools to automatically measure subtle qualities of language. At the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS), our research uses social media language not only to understand people better, but also to help people improve their health.

Responding to the opioid epidemic

August 3, 2017

Ned Presnall
Executive Director
Clayton Behavioral
Adjunct Professor, Washington University

David Wojnarowicz at ACT UP's "Seize Control of the FDA" demonstration in Rockville, Maryland, on October 11, 1988. (Photograph by William Dobbs)

We should be marching in the streets over the state of opioid use disorder treatment.

The epidemic of accidental opioid poisoning has received increasing media coverage as opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed. But the magnitude of the problem is still largely unappreciated. The New York Times recently illustrated that annual drug-related mortality in the United States has surpassed peak annual deaths related to AIDS, gun violence, and car accidents. What’s most troubling is that the rate of opioid-related deaths is rising faster than ever.

Marijuana policy: Science matters

July 24, 2017

Susan R.B. Weiss, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Extramural Research

Eric M. Wargo, Ph.D
Science Writer
Office of Science Policy and Communications, Science Policy Branch 
National Institute on Drug Abuse

On August 28, 2017, the National Council for Behavioral Health, Advocates for Human Potential (AHP) and the ATTC Network are partnering to host the  2017 National Cannabis Summit in Denver: An objective national forum for changing public policy, public health, treatment and research. In today's blog post, plenary speaker Dr. Susan Weiss of the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls for science to lead our thinking about the complex subject of marijuana policy and public health. 

Laws around marijuana in many parts of the United States as well as around the world are rapidly changing. This is partly due to shifting attitudes: The public is becoming more supportive of policies that decriminalize or legalize marijuana, because prohibition has not prevented access to the drug and is seen as disproportionately harming minority lives and communities. Eight states plus the District of Columbia (DC) have now legalized recreational marijuana use for adults. There is also a widespread belief that marijuana may have therapeutic benefits, leading 29 states plus DC to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. (Sixteen additional states have legalized a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, cannabidiol).

The quickest way to reduce time to treatment

July 17, 2017

Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network Coordinating Office
Editor, NIATx

What's the quickest way to reduce waiting time to treatment?

Two NIATx coaches, Scott Gatzke and Elizabeth Strauss, were quick to offer the same answer:

"Stop scheduling appointments."

Throwing out your appointment book might seem an unlikely solution to the wait-time problem. But walk-in appointments or "open access" have helped transform organizations like The APT Foundation in New Haven, Connecticut. In the first year of offering same-day service, average time to treatment decreased from 22 days to 8 days. 
"By the second year, it was down to 2 days, and today most people receive their first treatment or medication, or both, on the same day they walk in.”

Project ECHO LGBT: Making System Change to Address a High-Risk Population

Artist/photographer: Lavinia Solano
June 27, 2017

How can you effectively treat a high risk population without knowing which patients make up the population? The answer is: you can’t. 

To treat the complex needs of LGBT patients, it is necessary to remove the veil hiding this population from their health care providers. This removes stigma and increases the availability of treatment options based off of the specific needs of this population.

In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Association for Community Health Centers (NACHC), Dr. Wanda Montalvo of the Weitzman Institute at Community Health Center, Inc. led an initiative entitled “Transforming Primary Care for LGBT People” to improve the quality of care LGBT patients receive at 10 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). 

Honoring Pride Month 2017: YMSM + LGBT Webinar Series

June 20, 2017

Brandy T. Oeser, MPH
Project Director
YMSM+LGBT ATTC Center of Excellence 

LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. As part of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's recognition of LGBT Pride Month, the YMSM+LGBT Center of Excellence would like to encourage you to visit our archived webinars, where you can learn more about the LGBT Community. We have webinars available on many topics, including:
  • Creating an LGBT Affirming Organization
  • Supporting Change for LGBTQ Young Adults
  • Working With and For Two-Spirit Individuals

Cannabis News Roundup: June 2017

June 14, 2017 
Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network Coordinating Office

The cannabis news deluge continues, with no sign of letting up.  Here's a roundup of some of the latest: