Integrating Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Science to Address Substance Use Disorder
Young Girl

Course Objective

  • Explain what are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Describe the connection between substance use disorders and ACEs
  • Describe how ACEs science can be integrated with substance use disorder prevention and harm reduction approaches

Date: May 1, 2018

Daniel Sumrok, MD
Director of Addiction Science
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Opioid overdose deaths have been increasing at an alarming rate among adults. New York State, like many other states, is experiencing an opioid epidemic. There are worrisome trends in other substance use. Among older adults, binge-drinking and alcohol use disorders seem to be on the rise. Alcohol use among boys and people in the higher income brackets in decreasing, though increasing among lower socioeconomic groups and girls. Marijuana use has remained steady among youth through 2015, but has increased dramatically among youth over 18 years old. The prevalence of smoking among adults reporting poor mental health is twice as high as those who do not report poor mental health.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are an underlying factor in drug misuse and overdoses, suicides, mental health disorders and chronic disease. Data collected by the 2016 NYS Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)[i] show that ACEs are common among New York adults. Six out of 10 adults (59.3%) reported having experienced at least one ACE. Yet, very few communities integrate addressing and responding to ACEs. Dr. Daniel Sumrok of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center explained how ACEs Science can be integrated to address substance use disorders.

Region 2 Public Health Training Center