From the Administrator: Reflections, Future Directions
My initiation to Federal service occurred, by coincidence,
at the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks, making
it a time of tremendous challenge for me, yet also a
moment of limitless possibilities.
Charles G. Curie
One of my first actions as SAMHSA Administrator was
to hold a national conference in New York City soon after
the attacks. SAMHSA invited a team from every state to
attend and work on a disaster preparedness action plan
for mental and substance use problems.
As I prepare to leave SAMHSA, I see that the resolve,
commitment, and ingenuity displayed at that time by stakeholders
in the field working in tandem with SAMHSA staff was
a harbinger of how hard we would work and how much we
would accomplish together in the years ahead.
Simultaneously, I engaged the field in an ongoing dialogue
to help shape the direction of SAMHSA's efforts. The
insight and input from these stakeholders helped formulate
a mission and vision.
The vision is a life in the community for everyone.
People of all ages, with or at risk for mental or substance
use disorders, deserve the opportunity for a fulfilling
life that includes an education, a job, a home, and meaningful
relationships with family and friends.
The vision continues to inform Agency efforts today.
It infuses SAMHSA's directive from the President's New
Freedom Initiative to transform the Nation's mental health
service delivery system. It has helped launch transformative
programs such as Access to Recovery and the Strategic
Prevention Framework that are already taking shape across
The vision of life in the community for everyone has
also clarified the understanding that there are many
pathways to recovery from substance abuse, including
the transforming powers of faith. With that in mind,
SAMHSA has established broad alliances with community
and faith-based service providers to assist citizens
seeking help and support in their recovery.
To make the vision accessible to all, SAMHSA remains
committed to breaking down the wall between the mental
health care and substance abuse treatment systems so
that people with co-occurring mental health and substance
abuse problems receive comprehensive, coordinated treatment.
More recently, Agency efforts in connection with the
2005 hurricanes in the Gulf States and in the international
arena—particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan—have
persuaded me even more profoundly about the universality
of SAMHSA's vision. Throughout the world, people's needs,
hopes, and aspirations are more similar than we may think.
I anticipate watching SAMHSA's achievements grow after
I leave, and I look forward to continuing my own efforts
to improve the lives of all people with or at risk for
mental and substance use disorders.
Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.
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