SAMHSA logo Report to Congress - Nov 2002








Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Chapter 3 - Prevention of Co-Occurring Disorders - SAMHSA's Leadership in Prevention


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SAMHSA's Leadership in Prevention

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration takes seriously its mission to improve the quality and availability of prevention, treatment and rehabilitative services for people with substance abuse and mental disorders. Through its Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA actively seeks to identify, evaluate and disseminate successful prevention programs. Some of the Agency's prevention programs, such as the CSAP High-Risk Youth Demonstration Program, are discussed earlier in this chapter; other activities are highlighted below.

State Incentive Grant Program

The State Incentive Grant Program develops and evaluates the efficacy of prevention programs in reducing or eliminating substance use among at-risk youth and in reducing or eliminating problem behaviors that may lead to mental disorders. The program was funded at $61 million in fiscal year 2001. The program enables Governors to coordinate and leverage all prevention resources in their respective States, resources that can address problem behaviors that may lead to both substance abuse and mental disorders. Grant recipients are required to use no less than half of their funding on scientifically defensible program activities. Today 38 States and the District of Columbia are testing 20 model programs that target youth who exhibit problem behaviors and are at risk for substance abuse. Six regional Centers for the Application of Prevention Technology support their work.

Prevention Program Outcomes Monitoring System

Once model programs are disseminated, CSAP assesses how these programs are being adapted, and the extent to which these adaptations affect program effectiveness. This assessment effort, the Performance Program Outcomes Monitoring System (PPOMS), measures how many of the model programs are implemented nationwide, the degree to which they are being adapted to community needs and norms, how well they are succeeding, and the continuing fidelity of the models as originally specified. These empirical findings can help SAMHSA determine whether adaptations of effective, evidence-based models remain successful.

Mentoring and Family Strengthening Program

Healthy children need healthy parents and nurturing relationships with other adults in their lives. The Mentoring and Family Strengthening Program was established in 1999 to help 95 grant-recipient communities identify cost-effective methods to disseminate information, provide training, and evaluate the impact of evidence-based, family-focused, prevention strategies and models. The program sought to understand the factors influencing a community's decision to adopt/adapt and implement these practices. Since then the program has been expanded to science-based prevention activities by helping experienced grantees disseminate effective program models and approaches to the community at large.

Best Practice Grant

SAMHSA's Programs of Regional and National Significance efforts include support for the discovery of new, more effective ways to deliver substance abuse prevention and treatment and mental health services by translating new research knowledge to community-based programming. Grant programs include a number of targeted prevention areas such as underage drinking, family-focused prevention programs, and children of parents who abuse substances. For example, a three-year program focusing on the children of substance abusing parents was designed to identify and evaluate prevention programs that enhance protective factors and reduce risk factors for children ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 14 whose parents abuse substances. Preliminary data from this program reveal that prevention programs increase negative attitudes toward drugs. Overall, negative attitudes toward drugs increased for 44.7 percent of parents; among children ages 6 to 8, perception of harm increased 40.5 percent. Nearly 41 percent of children ages 9 to 14 showed increased perception of risk.

Safe Schools/Healthy Students

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative is a landmark collaboration among the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education that is focused specifically on the prevention of youth violence in schools. SAMHSA serves as the lead agency within the Department of Health and Human Services in this large-scale effort. To date, 97 grants totaling $445 million have been awarded to local education authorities around the country.

Grantees are required to establish formal partnerships with local mental health and law enforcement agencies to promote the development of school safety, substance abuse and violence prevention and early intervention programs, and school and community mental health prevention and treatment services, among other activities. A parent education component of the program - undertaken entirely by SAMHSA - the 15+ Make Time to Listen/Take Time to Talk initiative provides practical guidance for parents on how to strengthen their relationships with their children by spending at least 15 minutes of undivided, child-directed time with them each day.

School Action Grant Program

SAMHSA's School Action Grant Program provides grantees with up to $150,000 a year for 2 years to build consensus among key stakeholders in the community to adopt and pilot test an evidence-based program to prevent youth violence and promote healthy child development.


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