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

North Dakota Explores Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration and Behavioral Health Services for People in the Criminal Justice System

North Dakota Explores Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration and Behavioral Health Services for People in the Criminal Justice System

At a recent North Dakota Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee meeting, CSG Justice Center staff highlighted recent decreases in prison admissions that resulted from alcohol and drug offenses and probation revocations. These declines seem to be the cause of a 6.5-percent drop in the state’s total prison population in FY2018, which exceeded expectations, and have reinforced the state’s efforts to increase behavioral health services for people in the criminal justice system.

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

The Stepping Up initiative recently launched a national effort to help counties collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses. As part of the effort, seven rural and urban “Innovator Counties” have been selected as models for their expertise in accurately identifying these individuals and consistently collecting data on them.

Baltimore County to Further Improve Crisis Response System Based on Independent Assessment

Baltimore County to Further Improve Crisis Response System Based on Independent Assessment

The Baltimore County, Maryland, county executive recently released a report that provides recommendations for the county to better position its police-mental health collaboration (PMHC), the Baltimore County Crisis Response System, to provide an effective and comprehensive response that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and maximizes both public safety and health outcomes.

Congress Approves FY18 Funding Levels for Criminal Justice Programs

Congress Approves FY18 Funding Levels for Criminal Justice Programs

Recently, the U.S. Congress approved the $1.3 trillion Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill that would set government funding through Sep. 30, 2018. The bill provides $30.3 billion for the Department of Justice and includes $2.9 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.

Arkansas Opens First Crisis Stabilization Unit

Arkansas Opens First Crisis Stabilization Unit

Arkansas’s first crisis stabilization unit (CSU) opened in Sebastian County on March 1 with high praise from Governor Asa Hutchinson. This center, which will provide services to people experiencing mental health crises, is the first of four such centers planned across the state. Officials are hopeful that it will serve as a model that other states can follow.

Announcements

20th Global Youth Justice Training Conference

The 20th Global Youth Justice Training will offer information on Teen/Peer/Youth/Student/Court and Peer Jury diversion programs, which are volunteer-driven programs that harness positive peer pressure in a peer judgment setting.

Coming Together for Action Conference

Coming Together for Action Conference

The Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice is partnering with the Colorado School of Public Health to convene an interdisciplinary conference for behavioral health, social justice, and healthier communities, particularly in relation to more effectively meeting the needs of people in the juvenile and criminal justice systems who have mental illnesses and substance addictions.

Webinars

Addressing the Needs of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

Addressing the Needs of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar provides an overview of national estimates of incarcerated veterans; explains components of the Veterans Health Administration’s veterans justice programs; expands awareness of the needs of veterans in the justice system; and discusses new developments in the Veterans Administration and community interventions to provide services to veterans in the justice system.

Best Practices in Screening and Assessment for People with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

Best Practices in Screening and Assessment for People with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar features Roger Peters, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. The webinar discusses the prevalence of co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders among people involved in the criminal justice system, as well as effective screening and assessment instruments to use with this population.

Publications

Removing Obstacles to Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Behavioral Health Care

Removing Obstacles to Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Behavioral Health Care

This tip sheet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s GAINS Center draws on research that has implications for people of racial and ethnic minority backgrounds who have mental illnesses or substance addictions who often face substantial barriers to accessing community-based services prior to their justice involvement.

Journal for Advancing Justice

Journal for Advancing Justice

This new journal from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals is dedicated to the topic of identifying and rectifying racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in treatment courts.

Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

This publication from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness lays out a plan for ending homelessness that focuses on identifying and describing essential federal strategies to build effective, lasting systems that aim to work both in the present and to be able to respond quickly and efficiently when housing instability and homelessness occur in the future.

Modern Justice: Using Data to Reinvent America’s Crisis Response Systems

Modern Justice: Using Data to Reinvent America’s Crisis Response Systems

This publication from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation examines how public safety personnel, health professionals, and service providers can contribute to solving the problem of Frequent Utilizers—those who cycle in and out of jails, hospitals, shelters, and other social service programs at a startlingly high rate.

Data Trends: Utah Criminal Justice Reform

Data Trends: Utah Criminal Justice Reform

This report examines data on prison populations and crime since comprehensive changes to policies and practices took place in Utah beginning in 2015.

Addiction Policy Forum Hospital Toolkit

Addiction Policy Forum Hospital Toolkit

This toolkit from the Addiction Policy Forum was designed to empower patients, families, emergency medicine providers, and policymakers to work collaboratively to identify patients in need of help, initiate evidence-based treatments, and connect patients and families to comprehensive support services.

Recent headlines

Potter Co. Commissioners Talk Criminal Justice Reform

The Potter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board has developed a DUI Treatment Court, Drug Treatment Court and a pilot Pre-Trial Diversion Program to help people stay out of jail by offering substance addiction treatment and related services.

Franklin County Program Helps Frequently Jailed Women Chart New Path

Pathways, launched by the county in early 2016, is designed for women dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues who were funneling into and out of jail, said Patrice Palmer, a reentry social-support specialist at the Franklin County Office of Justice Policy and Programs.

Pioneering Program Helping Addicted Inmates in Atlantic County Jail

This month, Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal visited the John Brooks Recovery Center in Pleasantville to draw attention to a program with the Atlantic County jail that is making a difference. It is the first in the state to bring medication-assisted treatment such as methadone to addicted county inmates, and officials hope to expand the program to other counties.

Kentucky Looks at New Reforms to Cut Jail, Prison Population

Some solutions are expected to come from 2017 Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Rep. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton. The legislation, now law, is expected to reduce the inmates in Kentucky jails and prisons through alternative sentencing—including reentry programs—and so-called prison industry enhancement programs.

Stepping Up Initiative Connects Inmates with Mental Health Services

Cabarrus County Stepping Up coordinator Tasha McLean, who is employed by Daymark Recovery Services and contracted through the county, works directly with inmates as a connector to treatment if needed. When people are arrested and taken into custody, detention officers perform medical screenings, which she reviews. Certain questions are designed to determine if an individual has a mental health or substance abuse issue.

Carson City Looks to Help Incarcerated Women

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said law enforcement officials are trying to understand how women’s experiences are typically different from men’s experiences, and that changes how they interact in a jail.