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If your patient was abusing prescription or illicit drugs, would you know?

In 2011, 3.1 million persons aged 12 or older reported using an illicit drug for the first time within the past 12 months. This averages to approximately 8,500 initiates per day1. Additionally, 6.1 million persons aged 12 or older reported the nonmedical use of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past month1.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has developed NIDAMED, a portfolio of resources to help nurses and other clinicians better address drug abuse in their patients. The portfolio includes the NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool—with both a one question quick screen and a full interactive screen— information guides on brief intervention and referral to treatment, and two new substance abuse related CEs . NIDAMED also includes patient materials and a variety of curriculum resources designed for students.

All resources are science-based and available free of charge. If you have questions about any of the NIDAMED resources, contact

1Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of national findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Immunization Important Back-to-School Tip for Healthy Students

Nurses play an integral role in a child’s wellbeing, from health screenings and preventive care to first aid and emergency care. With the start of a new school year, the American Nurses Association has a few tips for nurses and parents to help optimize students’ health, safety, and capacity for learning.

Safe Disposal of Medications and Sharps in the Home Setting

Vaccines, Tobacco Control Among Top Public Health Achievements of Past Decade

The American Nurses Association (ANA) Department of Nursing Practice and Policy presents the following information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

What is making America healthier so far in the 21st century? According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ten great public health achievements are demonstrating remarkable success in preventing disease and injury and promoting better lives. The top ten are:

  • Vaccine preventable diseases
  • Prevention and control of infectious disease
  • Tobacco control
  • Maternal and infant health
  • Motor vehicle safety
  • Cardiovascular disease prevention
  • Occupational safety
  • Cancer prevention
  • Childhood lead poisoning prevention
  • Public health preparedness and response

The list was compiled by CDC’s public health scientists as part of a survey of the most effective public health intervention strategies over the past decade. The report also cites the success of policy change in enhancing these successes. It said, “Although not new, the judicious use of the legal system, by encouraging healthy behavior through taxation or by shaping it altogether through regulatory action, has become an increasingly important tool in modern public health practice and played a major role in many of the achievements described in this report.”

Read the CDC Report

Advisory on USPSTF Revised Guidelines on Breast Cancer Screening

The American Nurses Association (ANA) provides the following information received from Task Force Member Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN Clarifying the USPSTF Revised Guidelines on Breast Cancer Screening:

The US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care, updated its 2002 recommendation on breast cancer screening, which has drawn extensive public reaction. Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN, , serves on the 16 member panel appointed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Melnyk is dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University.

This updated recommendation provides specific recommendations for mammography screening by age. The complete recommendation can be read at

Read Bernadette Melnyk's Comments

Help Veterans Link to Care

All nurses—no matter where they work--can help veterans access the care they need by becoming more aware of the government-sponsored health services that are available, and then passing that information to veterans and their families.

  • Check out the American Nurses Association's (ANA) House of Delegates resolution, “Health Care for Veterans and Their Families.”
  • Learn about the range of services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), facility locations, and eligibility requirements. Go to
  • For information about health care services provided to active duty and retired military personnel, go to This Web site also includes resources aimed at helping wounded soldiers and their families as they move toward recovery.

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