SAMHSA logo Report to Congress - Nov 2002

 

 

 

 

REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF CO-OCCURRING SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS AND MENTAL DISORDERS

 

 


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

Chapter 5 - Five-Year Blueprint for Action

 

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SAMHSA will lead the national effort to ensure accountability, capacity, and effectiveness in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders. While SAMHSA will focus on this set of co-occurring disorders, the Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA recognize the existence of other sets of co-occurring medical and social conditions in this population that are of equal significance, such as HIV/AIDS, hypertension, chronic liver disease, hepatitis C, homelessness and incarceration.

Co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders are prevalent, affecting millions of Americans of all ages. When substance abuse disorders and mental disorders occur at the same time in an individual, they lead to significant loss of human potential and increased costs for service systems - losses and costs greater than those arising from each of the disorders alone. Moreover, a growing body of evidence suggests that integrated rather than parallel and sequential treatment approaches are especially effective for people with more severe functional impairment due to co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders. The lesson from the data is clear: Improving the Nation's public health demands prompt attention to the problem of co-occurring disorders.

As the lead public mental health and substance abuse services agency in the Federal government, it is SAMHSA's responsibility to lead the Nation's efforts to improve and ensure care for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults living with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders of any degree of severity. To extend its reach and to leverage resources to the utmost, SAMHSA will strengthen its partnerships across its constituencies, including consumers/recovering persons, family members, faith-based and community organizations, providers, researchers, advocates, State and local authorities, and our Federal partners whose work also impacts people who have co-occurring disorders. The Agency will work in close collaboration with the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, with sister agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, and with other agencies of the Federal government that have a role in improving lives of people with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders.

At the same time, SAMHSA will continue to emphasize the fact that substance abuse disorders and mental disorders are treatable, and people can and do recover from them. Through these efforts, the Agency will work to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the stigma of mental disorders and substance abuse disorders that keeps individuals of all ages from seeking treatment and systems from providing appropriate services.

Because the real work in mental health and substance abuse services - including services for people with co-occurring disorders - happens in communities and States, SAMHSA will help States and localities reach consensus about the implementation of evidence-based prevention and treatment services. SAMHSA will collaborate in partnership to support innovations in creative and flexible funding to meet the needs of individuals with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders.

SAMHSA's strategic plan, built on the goals of accountability, capacity, and effectiveness, is guiding the Agency's efforts. By promoting provider and system accountability; by enhancing the involvement of individuals with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders and, as appropriate, their family members in the treatment planning process; by further developing system capacity; and by ensuring effective coordination and collaboration of efforts; SAMHSA and its partners can identify and implement meaningful, effective and economically sound strategies to best serve people with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders.

Such changes cannot be realized overnight by providers, systems, agencies or offices. It will take a measured, approach, tailored to the unique needs of each State, tribe, or Territory. SAMHSA will work closely with all groups that have a critical role in helping to address these serious disorders including community and faith-based providers, the business community, consumers and family members. With leadership and focus, more effective, accountable and capable services for people with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders can be achieved nationwide.

 

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