Substance Use Disorders and Disasters

Substance use disorders are a growing issue among Americans today. A recent administration of SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 20.2 million adults had experienced a substance use disorder in the past year. Furthermore, there is a strong link between substance use issues and the experience of a traumatic event, such as a disaster. In the past decade, we have experienced an increase in the number of disasters, both natural and human-caused, leading to an even greater risk of substance use issues in affected communities.

Populations that experience disasters and traumatic events are at higher risk of having a substance use disorder. Other vulnerable populations include people with lived experience of mental illness, communities underprepared for disasters, people with existing substance use disorders, and first responders.

This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) focuses on substance use disorders and how their prevention and treatment can be incorporated into disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Resources address the following topics:

  • Information to help disaster responders address substance use and misuse concerns among survivors during and after disasters
  • General information about substance use disorders
  • Ways that community leaders, emergency management planners, and clinical service providers can help people with substance use disorders before, during, and after disasters
  • Substance use disorders among first responders

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Displaying 33 total results.
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Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization - Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)
ACA is a 12-step program that serves adults who grew up with a caregiver who had an alcohol use disorder or lived with an otherwise dysfunctional family and have experienced negative effects because of these aspects of their childhood that have led them to seek out a recovery program.
http://www.adultchildren.org

Advice for disaster responders - U.S. Navy, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (USN, NCCOSC)
This NCCOSC webpage provides tools for leaders of sailors and marines to help them recognize signs and symptoms of stress. It provides real-life scenarios, illustrating ways to treat and reintegrate sailors and marines after a disaster deployment.
http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/nccosc/leadersV2/infoAndTools/adviceForDisasterResponders/Pages/default.aspx

After a disaster: Self-care tips for dealing with stress - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
This fact sheet provides information for survivors dealing with stress following a disaster. It includes the signs and symptoms of stress, as well as ways to ease stress.
http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/media/1570/afterdisasterselfcaretipsfordealingwithstress.pdf

Al-Anon Family Groups - Al-Anon World Service
Al-Anon Family Groups, founded in 1951, provide a forum in which members can give direction or advice to other members who are in households with people who misuse alcohol. The Al-Anon Family Groups' website provides information for professionals and for adults and teens about meetings.
http://www.al-anon.org

Alcoholics Anonymous - Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Founded in 1935, AA aims to help people with alcohol use disorders to recover and stay sober. It provides meetings worldwide during which people can share their experiences and receive advice on resolving their alcohol use disorder.
http://www.aa.org

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) (SAMHSA) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
According to its website, CSAP provides national leadership in the federal effort to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and drug problems. . . . To help Americans lead healthier and longer lives, CSAP promotes a structured, community-based approach to substance abuse prevention through the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). The framework aims to promote youth development, reduce risk-taking behaviors, build assets and resilience, and prevent problem behaviors across the individual's life span.
http://beta.samhsa.gov/about-us/who-we-are/offices-centers/csap

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) (SAMHSA) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
According to its website, CSAT promotes the quality and availability of community-based substance abuse treatment services for individuals and families who need them. CSAT works with states and community-based groups to improve and expand existing substance abuse treatment services under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program.
http://beta.samhsa.gov/about-us/who-we-are/offices-centers/csat

Children of alcoholics: A guide to community action - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
This guide provides information and tools to help people communicate with children who live in homes with parents that have alcohol use disorders. It includes tips for media events, a fact sheet, a feature story idea, drop-in articles, print public service announcements, radio public service announcements, pitch letters, and other media resources.
http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/MS939/MS939.pdf

Cocaine Anonymous - Cocaine Anonymous World Services
CA, founded in 1982, aims to help those with dependence on cocaine, crack, speed, or similar substances to recover and stay sober. It provides meetings worldwide during which people can discuss their experiences with drug dependence, misuse, and recovery, and get advice on overcoming a substance use disorder and avoiding relapse.
http://www.ca.org

Disaster recovery resources for substance abuse treatment providers - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
This resource provides the treatment community for substance use disorders with tools to enhance disaster preparedness and recovery. It includes guidelines; presentations; sample plans; consumer fact sheets; and other resources on outreach, preparedness, and lessons learned.
http://media.samhsa.gov/csatdisasterrecovery/index.html

Drug and alcohol abuse after a disaster - South Dakota Department of Social Services
This webpage provides tips for people who know someone who may need support or assistance with alcohol and/or drug use or misuse after a disaster.
http://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/news/2011/CAC-5.aspx

Emergency preparedness plan - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
This plan provides a guide for substance use disorder and mental health clinics to develop an emergency preparedness plan. It contains processes for preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery in the event of an emergency. The guide includes various templates, including one for conducting a hazard vulnerability analysis as well as sample procedures.
http://www.samhsa.gov/csatdisasterrecovery/preparedness/disasterReliefGrantProgramEPP.pdf

Get connected! Linking older adults with medication, alcohol, and mental health resources - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
This toolkit helps service providers for the aging learn more about mental illness and substance use disorders in older adults, including focus on alcohol and medication use. It provides tools such as a program coordinator's guide, suggested curricula, and handouts.
https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Linking-Older-Adults-With-Medication-Alcohol-and-Mental-Health-Resources/SMA03-3824

Keeping youth drug free (HHS Publication No. SMA-3772) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
According to its online description, this manual provides statistics about adolescent substance use and advice for parents about how to keep their children drug-free. [It] includes tips on good communication, drug facts, action steps for limit-setting and consequences, as well as case studies.
http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Keeping-Youth-Drug-Free/SMA-3772

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction: Facts for families and friends - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)
This fact sheet provides families and friends of people with substance use disorders information about medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence. It describes prescription opioid medications, their proper use and side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and how medications fit with counseling in the recovery process.
http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA09-4443/SMA09-4443.pdf

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Last Updated: 01/15/2018