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    Alcohol/Substance Abuse Epidemiology Program

    The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) receives federal funding to conduct public health surveillance on the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on Michigan's population.  The Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention, and Epidemiology provides epidemiological support to programmatic efforts related to alcohol and drugs provided by other Michigan and National agencies. More information on treatment services are available from the Office of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care.


    Excessive alcohol use, either in the form of heavy drinking (drinking more than drinks containing alcohol two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women), or binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women), can lead to increased risk of health problems such as liver disease or unintentional injuries (1). While most adults consume alcohol responsibly, there is a growing need to understand the relationship between alcohol use, particularly excessive use and its harmful effects in Michigan.  

    The MDCH Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention, and Epidemiology receives support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct public health surveillance on how alcohol affects Michigan's population. Our focus consists of monitoring alcohol-related disease and negative societal outcomes with a special interest in youth to develop environmental and policy indicators for Michigan. 

    Surveillance Briefs
    Violence and Mental Distress in Current and Binge Drinking Michigan Youth
    Sexual Behavior and the Impact of Drinking in Michigan Youth 
    Weight Control Behavior of Current and Binge Drinking Michigan Youth 
    Self-reported Experience with Drinking and Driving in Michigan Youth    
    Type of Alcohol Consumed by Michigan Youth 

    Fact Sheets

    Excessive Alcohol Consumption Costs, Michigan 2006 (NEW 10/25/2013)
    Binge Drinking Screening during Routine Checkups among MI Adults, 2012 (NEW 8/27/2013)
    Self-reported Driving after Drinking among Michigan Adults and Youth

    Alcohol and Tobacco Use Among Michigan Youth, 2011
    Alcohol and Drug Use Among Michigan High School Students, 2011
    2006-2010 Michigan & County Death Rates
    2006-2010 Michigan & County Hospitalization Rates
    2006-2010 Michigan & County Traffic Crash Rates
    Alcohol Data Sources Fact Sheet
    Alcohol Outlet Density Associated Harms Summary
    2009-2010 Michigan Alcohol-Attributable Hospitalization Charges
    Risky Violent Behavior and Suicide 
    Risky Sexual Behavior 
    Unhealthy Weight Control Behavior 
    Drinking and Driving    
    Type of Alcohol Consumed by Michigan Youth  
    Youth and Adult Binge Drinking in Michigan 
    Usual Source of Alcohol Among Michgan Youth 
    Usual Location of Alcohol Consumption by Michigan Youth  

    Substance Abuse
    picture of prescription and illegal drugs 
    Substance abuse is defined as the continued usage of drugs or alcohol to the extent that it results in significant impairment including interference with one's work, home, social relationships, or health in the previous 12 months. The nonmedical use of prescription type-drugs, defined by the usage of drugs without a prescription or only for the intention of experiencing the drug's effect, has increased dramatically across the nation. The effects of substance abuse are far-reaching, extending beyond individuals to families and society. Therefore, there is an urgency to monitor the burden of substance and prescription drug abuse in Michigan.

    The Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention, and Epidemiology monitors the abuse of illegal, prescription and over-the-counter drugs to support agencies and communities in their actions to reduce the burden associated with drugs and other substances in Michigan and improve the overall quality of life of Michigan's residents. Because there is large overlap between substance abuse and mental health, the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention, and Epidemiology is also interested in monitoring the co-occurrence of these public health issues. 

    Fact Sheets
    Unintentional Drug Poisoning Deaths in Michigan
    Opioid-Related Hospitalizations in Michigan
    Depressive Feelings and Illicit Drug Use Among Michigan Youth 
    The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Nonmedical use of Prescription Pain Relievers
    Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings

    To learn more about alcohol and drug abuse in Michigan, see the reports and resources provided below. 



    60% of Michigan adults, aged 18 and older, used alcohol in the past month, while 16% of youth aged 12-17 consumed alcohol. 27% of adults and 10% of youth binge drank in the past month (1).  Excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States each year. From 2001-2005, there were approximately 79,000 deaths annually attributable to excessive alcohol use in the United States (2).

    In 2008, there were approximately 190,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol in the United States (3)

    Substance Abuse 

    According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2010-2011, 10.7% of Michigan residents aged 12 years and older reported using illicit drugs in the past month. When marijuana was excluded, the estimated dropped to 3.6%  (4) .

    In 2008, poisoning surpassed motor vehicle crashes to become the leading cause of injury death in the United States (5).  Since 2003, over 90% of all poisonings have involved drugs, with the largest increase in poisonings related to opioid analgesics (pain relievers) (6,7). A similar national pattern has also been seen in Michigan with poisonings exceeding motor vehicle crashes to become the leading cause of injury death in Michigan in 2009 (8).

    Drug Withdrawal in Newborns

    The number of U.S. newborns diagnosed with symptoms of drug withdrawal nearly tripled in 10 years due to increasing opiate use among pregnant women (9).  These newborns with Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome (NWS, also know as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, NAS) are more likely to have trouble breathing, low birth weight, feeding difficulties and seizures.  A recent study by MDCH documents this problem in Michigan and highlights the increased costs due to their longer hospital stays (10).

    Neonatal Drug Withdrawal among Michigan Infants Fact Sheet

    Use of Synthetic Marijuana (known as "Spice"/"K2")

    Since the increase in popularity of synthetic marijuana in 2010, new forms of synthetic marijuana have appeared.  These substances contain ingredients that act in the same way as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.  Legislation making ingredients in synthetic marijuana illegal in Michigan went into effect in October 2010; since then, synthetic cannabinoids are added to the list of Schedule l controlled substances as discovery and investigation continues.

    The Michigan Regional Poison Control Center at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan (PCC) monitors the number of cases called in by the general public and health care providers due to synthetic marijuana exposure. The PCC reports the number of cases increased between January 1, 2010 through June 2012 in Michigan; with a total of 533 emergency department visits involving THC homologs reported.  Subsequently, the number of cases involving THC use reported to the Poison Control Center has decreased, even as more synthetic cannabinoids have been placed onto Schedule l.

    Although there is no mandated reporting requirements, PCC conducts ongoing surveillance.  Hospitals are encouraged to report cases even if advice is not needed, as PCC is an agent of MDCH for designer drugs.  The PCC encourages hospitals to contact them by calling 1-800-222-1222.

    Substituted Phenethylamines

    Emergency department visits using cathinones, or "bath salts," became increasingly prevalent in 2010 and 2011.  These "bath salts" are part of the substituted phenethylamine class of chemicals, of which several others are also emerging.  Such phenethylamines include MDMA, MDA, and other hallucinogenic amphetamines.  From January 2012 through March 2013, 70 emergency department visits involved substituted phenethylamines. 

    A complete report of Michigan cases between November 2010 and March 2011 was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weely Report (MMWR).

    Relevant Regulations

    Michigan Controlled Substances Act, 2012 (MCL 333.721)
    Administrative Rule for Controlled Substances (2002) (R 338.721)
    Emergency Rule (2013) for Substituted Phenethylamines as Schedule l Substances (Michigan Register, Issue No. 1, 2013, pp. 211-214)
    Special Report: Emerging 2C-Phenethylamine, Piperazines, and Tryptamines

    Although there is no mandated reporting requirement, as part of the PCC's ongoing surveillance of designer drugs, the PCC encourages hospitals to contact them by calling 1-800-222-1222. Further information and fact sheets are found below.

    Synthetic Marijuana, General Fact Sheet
    Synthetic Marijuana Health Care Provider Fact Sheet
    DEA Fact Sheet: Synthetic Marijuana / "K2"
    DEA Fact Sheets: All Drugs


    Poster Presentations
    Unintentional Drug Poisoning Deaths, Michigan Residents, 1999-2009
    Evaluation of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) for Monitoring Co-Occurrence of Drug Use and Depressive Feelings among Michigan Youth, 2003-2009
    Alcohol-Attributable Hospitalizations among Michigan Residents, 2001-2010

    Using Market Research Data to Explore Alcohol-Related Behaviors among Michigan Adults, 2011

     Web Links 
    Alcohol and Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY)

    MDCH Office of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care
    MDCH Injury and Violence Prevention 
    MDCH Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey  
    Michigan Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, Michigan Department of Education
    Michigan Drunk Driving Audit,
    Michigan State Police
    CDC Substance Abuse and Mental Health Information

    Fact Sheets and Reports
    CDC Poisoning Prevention Resources
    CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses
    CDC Poisoning Factsheet

     Contact Us 
    For more information call the Michigan Department of Community Health at 1-800-648-6942.


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