Join Together’s Top Stories of 2006

2006: Year in Review

Parity Doesn’t Raise Insurance Costs, Study Says
Mandating that insurance policies treat addiction and mental health on par with other illnesses does not raise health costs according to a comprehensive new study that also found that parity did not result in greater utilization of services when coupled with managed care. 03/31/2006

Study Shows Most Treatment Effective Against Alcoholism
A complex study of alcoholism treatment medications and counseling has found that most standalone and combined therapies were effective in promoting short-term abstinence, with only the drug acamprosate (Campral) proving to be disappointing. 05/05/2006

Town Hall Meetings Tackle Underage Drinking
A series of more than 1,200 town-hall meetings on underage drinking held in late March and April largely succeeded in their main goal of raising community awareness about the problem of youth alcohol use. 05/09/2006

Panel Debates Merits of Age 21 Drinking Law
The proposal to lower the U.S. minimum drinking age from 21 to 18 may be, in the words of New Hampshire State Liquor Commissioner John Byrne — a ‘third rail.’ But that doesn’t mean that many alcohol sellers, and perhaps some state liquor officials, wouldn’t like to see it happen. 06/14/2006

Panel Calls for States to Take Lead on Addiction Policy
Citing the ‘almost incalculable’ toll that alcohol and other drug addiction takes on society, a Join Together policy panel called on states to take a leadership role in addressing the need for more drug treatment and prevention. 06/26/2006

Mission Accomplished in War on Drugs?
A mostly overlooked newspaper article recounting a recent meeting of seven former U.S. drug czars put forth an interesting proposition: the U.S. war on drugs has already been won. We spoke with three czars who remember the meeting differently. 08/04/2006

Annual National Survey on Drug Use Released
The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health was released this week and, as usual, whether the report represented good or bad news on drug-use trends largely depends on which statistics you pull from the sprawling findings. 09/08/2006

Medicaid Will Pay for Addiction Screening; Advocates Seek AMA Action, Too
Starting in January 2007, the federal Medicaid program will pay for screening and brief intervention programs for alcohol and other drug addiction. 10/05/2006

Aaron’s House: Building a Legacy of Recovery and Hope
Usually, stories like Aaron Meyer’s have a sadly predictable arc: A young man or woman gets hopelessly involved with alcohol or other drugs and dies of an overdose, suicide, or in a drug-related accident. Aaron’s story, however, is different. 010/27/2006

Ballot Questions: Marijuana Legalization Fails in Colorado, Nevada; Ohio Passes Comprehensive Smoking Ban
Voters from California to Florida made their decisions on ballot questions related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, handing a victory to health groups in Ohio on the issue of public smoking and defeating a bid to make Colorado and Nevada the first U.S. states to legalize the possession of marijuana. 11/08/2006

The Case For Lowering Legal
BAC Levels Even More

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico now make it a crime to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more. And, a new review of research from around the world makes a case for lowering the limit even more. 11/22/2006

Going for STOP: Congress Passes First Major Underage-Drinking Law
A bill that’s being called an important first step towards addressing the national problem of underage drinking was approved by both the U.S. Senate and House this week, and heads to President Bush’s desk for approval.12/08/2006