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SAMHSA News - March/April 2007, Volume 15, Number 2


President's Budget Sustains Key Programs

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget proposed by President George W. Bush allocates $3.2 billion for SAMHSA—a budget that will allow SAMHSA to continue its mission to build resilience, promote recovery, and ensure a life in the community for everyone.

Although the proposed budget reflects a reduction of 5 percent from the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution, it sustains support for priorities identified by President Bush and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael O. Leavitt. These programs include Access to Recovery and Mental Health System Transformation.

In addition, according to SAMHSA Administrator Terry L. Cline, Ph.D., “The President’s budget affords us the opportunity to make bold new investments in screening, brief intervention, referral, and treatment in both medical and community settings, and in the treatment drug courts.”

Substance Abuse

The FY 2008 budget includes $2.3 billion to prevent substance abuse and to provide treatment for the 33 million Americans with serious substance abuse problems. The budget requests level funding of $1.8 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which is the cornerstone of states’ and territories’ substance abuse programs. SAMHSA’s Block Grants serve nearly 2 million clients each year.

The proposed budget also requires states and territories receiving Block Grant funds to report client outcomes as outlined in SAMHSA’s National Outcome Measures. (See National Outcome Measures.)

The President’s Access to Recovery initiative, which provides clients in substance abuse treatment with vouchers so they can access treatment and support services of their choice, is slated to be funded at $98 million in FY 2008. Some $25 million will support treatment for clients using methamphetamine.

A total of $32 million is proposed to support substance abuse treatment to prevent criminal recidivism—an increase of $22 million over FY 2007. Drug treatment courts are a successful alternative to incarceration, and they allow stakeholders to work together to give clients the treatment and resources they need to become fully functioning parents, employees, and citizens.

The FY 2008 funding increase will enable SAMHSA to more than triple the number of grants to treat clients of juvenile, family, and adult drug treatment courts.

SAMHSA will increase its funding of substance abuse screening, brief intervention, referral, and treatment in medical and other community settings by $12 million for a total of $41 million in FY 2008.

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Mental Health

A total of $807 million is planned for mental health services, a decrease of $77 million from FY 2007. The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant will be funded at the same level as last year, $428 million. These block grants support comprehensive, community-based systems of care for adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances.

The proposed budget allocates $34 million for suicide prevention activities, including suicide prevention for American Indian and Alaska Native youth, a 24-hour national hotline, and a Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Another $76 million is proposed for school-based violence prevention that supports the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative, a collaborative effort with the Department of Education.

In addition, the budget includes $104 million for the Children’s Mental Health Services program, $54 million for Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, and $34 million for State Protection and Advocacy systems to protect people with mental illnesses from abuse, neglect, and violations of their civil rights.

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Performance Measurement

While not a separate line item in the SAMHSA budget, one of SAMHSA’s most important activities is performance measurement and reporting. “Performance measurement creates a consistent framework for linking Agency-wide goals with a matrix of program priorities,” said Dr. Cline.

According to SAMHSA’s FY 2008 Congressional Justification, SAMHSA and the states have agreed on a set of National Outcome Measures. (For more information, see article below.) The data gathered allow SAMHSA to share with stakeholders the Agency’s progress towards three strategic goals to increase:

  • Accountability in measuring and reporting program performance

  • Capacity in service availability

  • Effectiveness in service quality.

For more detailed information about the President’s FY 2008 Budget, visit www.hhs.gov/budget/08budget/2008BudgetInBrief.pdf. SAMHSA’s Congressional Justification is available at www.samhsa.gov/Budget/FY2008/index.aspx.

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SAMHSA Budget Authority by Activity
(Dollars in Millions)

  2006 2007 2008
Substance Abuse:  
Substance Abuse Block Grant $1,757 $1,759 $1,759
Programs of Regional and National Significance:  
Treatment 399 375 352
Prevention 193 181 156
Subtotal, Substance Abuse $2,349 $2,315 $2,267
Mental Health:  
Mental Health Block Grant $428 $428 $428
PATH Homeless Formula Grant 54 54 54
Programs of Regional and National Significance 263 228 187
Children's Mental Health Services 104 104 104
Protection and Advocacy 34 34 34
Subtotal, Mental Health $883 $849 $807
Program Management $92 $97 $93
Total, Program Level $3,324 $3,260 $3,168
Less Funds Allocated from Other Sources:  
PHS Evaluation Funds -121 -126 -121
Total, Discretionary BA $3,203 $3,134 $3,046
FTE 524 540 540
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site, “Budget in Brief,” at www.hhs.gov/budget/08budget/2008BudgetinBrief.pdf (page 39, PDF format).

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