Substance Abuse

The majority of people in prison and jail have a substance use disorder. Despite the promise demonstrated by some treatment programs for people who are incarcerated, just a fraction of the people who need services for substance abuse receive it. Connecting people incarcerated to treatment programs proven to be effective, prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from prisons and jails, and the communities to which they return.

Substance Abuse FAQs

Providing answers on relevant topics concerning Mental Health, Health and Substance Abuse topics.

Recent Posts

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Salt Lake County Launches Study of Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) today announced plans for a comprehensive analysis of Salt Lake County’s jail population in an effort to identify ways to reduce reoffense rates among people released from jail and design strategies to improve outcomes for the large portion of the jail population struggling with mental and/or substance use disorders.

Denise O'Donnell

BJA Director Delivers Statement at Senate Hearing on Law Enforcement Responses to Americans with Mental Illnesses and Disabilities

At the April 29th hearing—“Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans: Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety”—Director Denise O’Donnell of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) delivered statements about the department’s support for evidence-based practices and promising interventions for individuals with mental illnesses and/or disabilities who are involved with the justice system.

Announcements

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Listening Session: Improving Community Mental Health Services

This listening session will discuss criteria development for Section 223 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. The goal of Section 223 is to create certified community behavioral health clinics, which will focus on improving outcomes by increasing access to community-based behavioral health care, expanding the availability and array of services, and improving the quality of care delivered to people with mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Call for Proposals: Reclaiming Futures Grant

The $2 million grant will be used to add new sites that will implement the Reclaiming Future model and pilot an intervention approach called Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).

Webinars

Publications

Leading Change: 2.0

Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation Report

The report, “Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015–2018” provides the agency’s strategic plan for increasing awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, expanding prevention efforts, promoting emotional health and wellness, increasing access to effective treatment, and supporting recovery.

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Tip 59: Improving Cultural Competence

This guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides tips for professional care providers and administrators in understanding the role of culture in the delivery of substance use and mental health services.

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KnowBullying

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has developed a free smartphone app that provides parents, caretakers, educators, and others with information and support to address youth bullying.

Recent headlines

Drug Courts Offer Second Chance for Offenders

There’s a high success rate with drug courts. The state now has an Office of Drug Court Compliance to make sure the more than 40 courts are operating effectively.

Police Receive Funding for Outpatient Services for Inmates

The St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners has authorized onetime funding of $35,000 to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office to provide for Correctional Level 2.1 Intensive Outpatient Services for female inmates at the St. Mary’s County Detention Center. These services will utilize a trauma informed approach linking to community outpatient and/or residential care as needed which will be provided by Walden.

County Schools Chosen for Pilot Program

Pulaski County is one of three Virginia school divisions chosen for a pilot program to train public school teachers and employees to recognize mental health issues in students and link them with appropriate services.

Sentenced Reform Has Slowed, Not Stopped, Inmate Growth

A 24-member panel — the Prison Reform Task Force — is working with the Council of State Governments Justice Center to analyze the system and find ways to reduce overcrowding, reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

The Role of Medicaid in Successful Reentry

Since 1997, states have been able to bill for Medicaid-enrolled inmates who leave prisons or jails longer than 24 hours for health treatment in a hospital or nursing facility.

Prison Health-Care Settlement May Add to Ariz. Deficit

Arizona must significantly improve health-care and mental-health-care treatment for about 33,000 prison inmates under a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought in 2012 by prison-rights groups. That suit charged that the state unconstitutionally denies adequate care to inmates in state prisons and routinely keeps mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement under brutal conditions. Under the settlement announced Tuesday, the state does not admit any wrongdoing.