According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2013, 8.2% of the U.S. population age 12 and older met criteria for substance abuse or dependence in the previous year. Rates for at-risk substance use are higher with an estimated 9.4% reporting past month illicit drug use and nearly one quarter, 22.9% reporting past month binge drinking. The health burden of substance use is great and includes: harmful effects of acute intoxication, substance use associated injury and violence, and the consequences of numerous medical and psychiatric disorders associated with chronic alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. One in four deaths in the U.S. is attributed to alcohol, tobacco, and/or illicit drugs.
A 2006 Institute of Medicine report recommended better coordination of mental health and substance-related services with general health care services. Hopkins GIM faculty work closely with their colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and the Schools of Nursing and Public Health in several innovative treatment programs, in curriculum development and medical education, and in the following research areas: 1) race/ethnicity and gender differences in risks for, progression of, and services for at-risk substance use and use disorders; 2) screening and brief intervention for hazardous substance use in diverse medical and community-based settings; 3) the impact of alcohol and other drug use on adherence and health outcomes in HIV-infected persons; 4) relationship between trauma exposure and substance use; and 5) the impact of substance use on chronic disease management, healthcare utilization, and mortality.