Does smoking marijuana make you dumb?

January 25, 2016

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

That's just one of the 2,600  questions that teens asked researchers during NIDA's National Drug and Alcohol Chat Day, 2015.

And here's the answer, from Maureen Boyle, Chief of the Science Policy Branch in NIDA’s Office of Science Policy and Communications:
Regular use of marijuana--starting in the teen years--can impair brain development and lower IQ, meaning the brain may not reach its full potential. Here is an interesting infographic on marijuana use and your grades:

Addressing Leadership Needs for American Indian and Alaska Native Behavioral Health Workers

January 19, 2016

Lena Thompson, MPH
Research Support Coordinator
National American Indian & Alaska Native ATTC

Behavioral health disorders are highly prevalent in many American Indian and Alaska Native communities, both urban and tribal.

Combined 2003 to 2011 data indicate that American Indians or Alaska Natives are more likely than persons from other racial ethnic groups to have needed treatment for alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year (17.5 vs. 9.3 percent).  
     Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (November 2012). The NSDUH Report: Need for and Receipt of Substance Use Treatment among American Indians or Alaska Natives.  

Treatment approaches need to consider American Indian and Alaska Native cultures and healing practices, as well as the generational and historical trauma that affects native communities. In addition, the changing health care system in the US requires health care that health care leaders acquire additional knowledge and enhanced leadership skills to navigate both public and private funding opportunities, as well as administer a complex behavioral health agencies.

Want to learn more about Health Information Technology?

January 8, 2015

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network Coordinating Office/NIATx

When Dr. Esra Alagoz was helping to develop SAMHSA's BHBusiness Plus course Planning for the Next Generation of HIT, she made sure that it included digital games and simulations.

“Our goal was to create an interactive course that keeps learners engaged and motivated,” she says.

Dr. Alagoz, Assistant Scientist at NIATx, specializes in educational technology. She teamed up with Amy McIlvaine, NIATx Educational Services Director, to create "Planning for the Next Generation of HIT."

Games and health information technology may seem like an unlikely combination--but games are already appearing in health information and will have an even bigger presence in the next "generation."

And there's a growing research base for games in health. The digital game SuperBetter, created by game developer Jane McGonigal, has proven effective at relieving depression in a randomized controlled trial.

Helping you help pregnant women and their families: The new ATTC CoE-PPW

January 5, 2016

ATTC Center of Excellence on Behavioral Health for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Their Families: Working to Strengthen the Behavioral Healthcare Workforce's Ability to Serve Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Sarah Knopf-Amelung, MA-R
Research Associate, Special Projects
Mid-America ATTC

It’s hard to read the news without coming across an article relating to pregnant and postpartum women (PPW) and substance use. Whether it is states’ efforts to criminalize substance use during pregnancy or innovative treatment programs transforming the lives of pregnant women and their families, this topic is at the forefront of national media, as it should be. Perhaps one of the most discriminated groups of people who use substances, pregnant and postpartum women face extensive barriers to treatment and recovery. And yet, their success in accessing such services and achieving recovery has far-reaching implications for not only their personal well-being but that of their families and our communities as well.