Reducing Substance Abuse in America: Building the Nation's Demand Reduction Infrastructure A Framework for Discussion

The Vision: A Life in the Community for Everyone
The Challenge: Stopping Drug use Before It Starts…Healing America’s Drug Users
The Commitment: Meeting the Challenges Through National Leadership
The Charge: Building the Nation’s Demand Reduction Infrastructure
The Programs: Building Resilience
The Programs: Facilitating Recovery
The Programs: Building Treatment Capacity
Cross-Cutting Infrastructure and Services
Making It Count: Ensuring Accountability Through Data-Driven Decision-making
The Programs: Building Treatment Capacity

Healing America's Drug Users  

Targeted Capacity Expansion  

To address new and emerging substance abuse trends, SAMHSA/CSAT developed the Targeted Capacity Expansion (TCE) family of programs geared toward expanding treatment capacity for specific modalities, populations and issues.

The TCE programs include:

HIV Prevention and Treatment Grants for Minority Populations

SAMHSA initiated Minority HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Grants to help community-based organizations expand their capacity to provide and sustain effective, integrated substance abuse prevention and HIV prevention services in high risk minority communities disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These grants fund efforts by community-based organizations, faith communities, minority-serving colleges, universities, and others to provide effective HIV services in high-risk minority areas, and target African American, Hispanic/Latino and other racial and ethnic minority communities affected by the disease.

Services for People Who Are Homeless

As many as 700,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of these people have a serious mental illness, and one-half of this subgroup also has an alcohol and/or drug problem. In response to this devastating problem, SAMHSA/CSAT created a grant program to provide substance abuse and mental health services to homeless individuals and people who are at imminent risk for becoming homeless because they are sharing another person’s residence on a temporary basis.

Treatment for Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Abuse

To increase the effectiveness of alcohol and drug abuse treatment for adolescents age 12-21, SAMHSA/CSAT expanded substance abuse programs that combine two types of therapy—motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy—to youth within their communities.

Prevention and Treatment for Methamphetamine Abuse and other Emerging Drugs

Rural areas have been particularly hit hard by methamphetamine abuse. While the prevalence of methamphetamine use is about the same, the number of persons seeking treatment for methamphetamine abuse has increased dramatically. For this reason, SAMHSA awarded grants nationwide to provide prevention and treatment for methamphetamine abuse and other emerging drugs for adults residing in rural communities.

Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT)

SBIRT cooperative agreements are designed to enhance state continuums of care by:

  • Enabling States to expand their treatment capacity to new venues including general medical and other community settings (e.g., community health centers, school-based health clinics and student assistance programs, occupational health clinics, hospitals and emergency departments)

  • Increasing capacity for clinically appropriate treatment services for nondependent substance users, as well as for dependent substance users

  • Reducing the number of people in need of treatment services.

Recovery Community Support Program

There are many ways to recover from alcohol and drug use disorders. In addition to professional treatment and medication-assisted therapies, peer recovery support services can help prevent relapse and promote long-term recovery. At SAMHSA, we support peer services and those provided by faith communities through funding, technical assistance, publications, and online support. Successful peer initiatives work closely with formal service systems and professionals in their community to maximize the opportunities for recovery.

Addiction Technology Transfer Centers

An accompanying regional technical assistance system including 14 Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTC’s) was created to build capacity at the State and program level to provide the highest quality treatment services.

The ATTC network focuses on six areas of emphasis to improve treatment services:

  • Enhancing Cultural Appropriateness

  • Developing & Disseminating Tools

  • Building a Better Workforce

  • Advancing Knowledge Adoption

  • Ongoing Assessment & Improvement

  • Forging Partnerships

Treatment Leadership Institutes

In collaboration with the national network of Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTCs) Partners for Recovery is sponsoring regional Leadership Institutes across the country. The Leadership Institutes are part of the overall strategy of Partners for Recovery to develop leadership within the addiction treatment field. As many of the current leaders in the addiction field near retirement, there is a need to transition leadership to the "next generation" while also developing leadership at all levels within organizations. The Southern Coast ATTC piloted the first Leadership Institute in October 2003. The Graduate School, USDA (GS/USDA) is responsible for the pre-assessment of participants (called "protégés") and a-five day immersion training. Based on the tremendous success of the pilot, the five-day training is currently being hosted by regional ATTCs across the country with rave reviews from participants.

With up to 20 individuals participating in each of the Leadership Institutes, the field is beginning to create an identified pool of emerging leaders whose talents and influence will help shape the addiction treatment field in the coming years.

SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator: Supporting the Important First Step to Recovery

SAMHSA's Treatment Locator is an important information resource for individuals in need of treatment services. The service connects individuals in need with community-based providers and peers that can help them be successful as they take the first brave step toward recovery. Updated continuously as part of the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System, the treatment locator provides important contact information for substance abuse treatment services and is a valuable resource for medical providers, social workers, law enforcement, as well as concerned friends, family, and co-workers. You can access SAMHSA's Treatment Locator online at

Success Story

SBIRT has demonstrated effectiveness in multiple venues and is becoming an accepted standard of care in Primary and Generalist care settings, Emergency Rooms and Trauma Centers. In 2006, the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma adopted Screening and Brief Intervention as an Essential Element for Verification of Level I and II Trauma Centers and added Referral to Treatment for Level I Essential Elements.