Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) This Agency, established by Congress on October 1, 1992 (Public Law 102-321), works with States, communities and organizations to strengthen the Nation's capacity to provide substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment and mental health services for people experiencing or at risk for mental and substance abuse disorders. The newest agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA's fiscal year 2000 budget is approximately $2.6 billion; it employs a staff of approximately 550.
The Agency houses three programmatic Centers: the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). SAMHSA also includes an Office of the Administrator, an Office of Applied Studies, and an Office of Program Services.
Grant portfolios include both block and discretionary grants. Block grants enable States to maintain and enhance their substance abuse and mental health services. Targeted Capacity Expansion grants give communities resources to identify and address emerging substance abuse and mental health service needs at their earliest stages. SAMHSA's Knowledge Development and Application discretionary grants implement and assess new community-based prevention and treatment methods.
The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is the Nation's focal point for the identification, promotion, and dissemination of effective strategies to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, and the use of tobacco. CSAP programs identify prevention strategies-such as targeted family and community strengthening-that work best for specific populations at risk of substance abuse. Program approaches emphasize both cultural relevance and competence. The Center oversees Federal workplace drug testing programs as well as State implementation of the Synar youth tobacco access reduction law. Finally, CSAP supports the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), the Nation's largest information source on substance abuse research, treatment, and prevention. NCADI's toll-free number is 1-800-7296686; its Internet address is: www.health.org.
The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is enhancing the quality of substance abuse treatment services and working to ensure that services are available to everyone who need them. It supports the identification, evaluation and dissemination of science-based, effective treatment services. CSAT administers the State Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant and undertakes knowledge development, education, and communications initiatives that promote best practices in substance use/abuse treatment and intervention. CSAT's Targeted Capacity Expansion Program-and its specialized program focused on HIV/AIDS services-help communities respond rapidly to emerging local drug use trends.
SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) works to improve the availability and accessibility of high-quality care for people with or at-risk for mental illnesses and their families by creating a nationwide community-based mental health service infrastructure. Its education programs are helping to end the stigma associated with these illnesses. While the largest portion of the Center's annual budget supports the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Program to States,
CMHS also supports grant programs to develop and apply knowledge about best community-based practices designed to serve adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances. The Center also collects and analyzes national mental health services data to help inform future services decision-making. CMHS's information clearinghouse—the Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN)—can be reached by toll-free telephone (1-800-789-2647) and on the Internet at www.mentalhealth.org.
While SAMHSA's Office of the Administrator and Office of Program Services are primarily administrative in nature, the Office of Applied Studies (OAS) has program authority to gather, analyze, and disseminate data on substance abuse practices in the United States. OAS directs the annual National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the Drug Abuse Warning Network, and the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System, among other studies. Through these studies, SAMHSA is able to identify trends in substance abuse and, soon, also in mental health care. OAS also coordinates evaluation of models developed through SAMHSA's knowledge development and application programs.
New program topics are identified by SAMHSA in varying ways. Some are developed by SAMHSA leadership and staff; others result from Congressional mandate. Still other topics grow from Center-sponsored meetings that highlight empirically validated, intervention models ripe for replication. Some new program directions originate at the State and local levels, some from SAMHSA and Center National Advisory Councils, and some from the research community.
Programs are bringing new science-based knowledge to community-based prevention, identification and treatment of mental and substance abuse disorders. The results are being measured in improved approaches to addiction treatment, substance abuse prevention and mental health services at the federal, state and community levels. Equally important, the results are being measured in the improved quality of people's lives. For further information, write to SAMHSA Office of Communications, Room 13C05, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rock-ville, MD 20857.
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