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SAMHSA News - November/December 2005, Volume 13, Number 6

From Hurricane Response To Long-Term Recovery (Part 3)

Administrator's Message

photo of Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W., SAMHSA Administrator
Charles G. Curie
SAMHSA Administrator

As the weeks have passed since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the first phase of crisis response has given way to a second phase of long-term recovery. The immediate task of saving lives is replaced with tasks that restore the quality of life.

SAMHSA's mission is twofold: (1) to ensure that mental health assessment and crisis counseling are readily available to residents and evacuees of areas affected by the hurricanes and to establish a longer-term plan to assure that post-traumatic stress disorders are addressed within this population; and (2) to ensure that people impacted by the hurricanes who have serious mental illnesses and addictive disorders and children with serious emotional disturbances continue to receive ongoing treatment for their chronic problems.

I am proud of SAMHSA's quick response, including the establishment of our SAMHSA Emergency Response Center, the deployment of SAMHSA staff and mobilization of staff from other sources—both Federal and non-Federal—to the affected areas, our grants to states for clinical services and pharmaceutical assistance, and our efforts to collect data to guide our continuing efforts.

I was also impressed, during my own visits to the Gulf states, by the resiliency of both evacuees and responders. I was struck by the many traumas that people had suffered: the hurricanes, the floods, the displacement, the loss, and for some people, the dehumanizing way that they were treated during and after the events.

I observed that shelters that fostered a sense of community and encouraged trusting relationships enabled people to begin healing.

It's important to engage people from the start in developing a self-determined plan that gives them a sense of purpose and direction. Visualizing their own goals helps people gain a sense of control and an investment in the future.

Similarly, our efforts to rebuild communities and service systems should focus on assisting locally led efforts—both private and public sector—and on coordinating activities among local, state, and Federal governments instead of imposing a solution from the top down.

Rather than create a duplicate of our former service system for mental and addictive disorders, we should encourage the growth of a transformed health care system that is responsive to consumers and their families, uses methods based on proven evidence, is oriented toward prevention, and uses health care technology to improve quality. In this way, we can use this difficult experience to create a modern, vibrant, and sustainable future. End of Article

Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.
Administrator, SAMHSA

« See Part 1: Hurricane Recovery

« See Part 2: Hurricane Recovery

See Also-First-Person Accounts

See Also-Resources

See Also-Children's Trauma Network

See Also-Methadone, Buprenorphine

See Also-Estimates of Substance Use in Affected States

See Also—Next Article

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Empowering Recovery

Inside This Issue

Hurricane Recovery:
Part 1
Part 2
Administrator's Message
First-Person Accounts
Children's Trauma Network
Methadone, Buprenorphine
Estimates of Substance Use in Affected States

Efforts To Stop Underage Drinking
Part 1
Part 2

Making a Difference for America's Youth

Update: Medicare Rx Benefit

TIP 43: Opioid Treatment

SAMHSA 2005 Grants

SAMHSA Report Highlights Outcome Measures

Conference Addresses Homelessness

Methamphetamine Update

Relapse Prevention for Older Adults

Journal: Employee Assistance Alliance

Brochure: In the Best of Families

Booklet: Faces of Change

SAMHSA News In Print 2005 Index—Volume 13
Index A–D
Index E–M
Index N–R
Index S–Y


SAMHSA News - November/December 2005, Volume 13, Number 6

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