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SAMHSA Announces New Efforts to Advance Evidence-Based Practices for Opioid Use and Serious Mental Illness

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On January 17, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced major efforts to advance evidence-based practices in the behavioral health field.

In conjunction with the Presidential Public Health Emergency Declaration on October 27, SAMHSA announced a new Technical Assistance (TA) effort to focus on the specific needs of states and local jurisdictions to address the opioid crisis in their areas. This week, SAMHSA released $12 million in funding to the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry to begin the effort to utilize local expertise to provide TA and training on scientifically based evidence-based practices to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

The Opioid State Targeted Response TA program aims to provide TA on evidence-based practices across the spectrum of prevention, treatment and recovery. The program is funded to support the Opioid STR program authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act. The TA program will ensure that Americans suffering with opioid use disorders will gain access to the life-saving evidence-based medication-assisted treatment and psychosocial services they need.

“Ensuring that communities across the nation have access to evidence-based services is critical to advancing the behavioral health of the nation,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. “I am committed to ensuring that the implementation of evidence-based practices is a top priority.”

In keeping with that priority, SAMHSA has also released a new funding opportunity to develop a national Center of Excellence dedicated to the implementation of evidence-based practices to treat individuals living with serious mental illness (SMI). SAMHSA’s $14.5 million Clinical Support Services for SMI TA Center will provide training and education to providers across the country to treat the nation’s most vulnerable populations. The Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available at

The Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use indicates that this is only the start of SAMHSA’s new efforts to ensure that communities are well equipped with the knowledge and training needed to implement evidence-based practices for those living with behavioral health conditions.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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