Substance Abuse & Mental Health

SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that in 2006 an estimated 20.4 Americans aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users. This estimate represents 8.3 percent of the population aged 12 years or older. An estimated 125 million Americans, or 50.9 percent, reported being current drinkers of alcohol.

According to NIDA, recent epidemiologic studies have shown that between 30 percent and 60 percent of drug abusers have concurrent mental health diagnoses including personality disorders, major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder and drug abusers with mental illness co-morbidity are more likely to engage in behaviors that increase risk for HIV/AIDS.

A number of GSU faculty members are conducting research and publishing in the fields of substance abuse and mental health. Julia Perilla has expertise in the special mental health issues of immigrants and refugees.   Monica Swahn is a trained psychiatric epidemiologist with expertise in the substance use, primarily alcohol, contributes to adverse health outcomes including violent behaviors. Lionel Scott has research interests in racial disparities in mental health service use and the psychosocial functioning and help-seeking behaviors of ethnic minority youth and older foster youth.