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

Franklin County, Salt Lake County Allocate Millions Each to Improve Local Jail Systems

Franklin County, Salt Lake County Allocate Millions Each to Improve Local Jail Systems

Two counties—one in Ohio, the other in Utah—are backing their words with action following separate reports from The Council of State Governments Justice Center that highlighted major disparities in the length of time people with serious mental illnesses stay in each county’s local jail and the rate at which they’re rearrested following their release compared to people with out these illnesses.

A Second Chance at Recovery for Women in Wilmington, North Carolina

RESET, which is funded by a 2014 Second Chance Act grant, is a six-month program designed specifically for women and implemented through a partnership between a residential reentry center and a nonprofit behavioral health agency. A typical participant in RESET has a co-occurring substance use and mental disorder and a moderate- to high-risk of committing another crime.

Announcements

Richard Cho to Join CSG Justice Center as Behavioral Health Division Director

Richard Cho to Join CSG Justice Center as Behavioral Health Division Director

On May 9, The CSG Justice Center will welcome Richard Cho to its staff as director of the national nonprofit’s Behavioral Health division. In this role, Mr. Cho will lead all initiatives related to The CSG Justice Center’s behavioral health work, which is designed to improve public safety outcomes, reduce the overrepresentation of people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in the criminal justice system, and promote recovery for this population.

Apply Now: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

Apply Now: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance is seeking applications for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, which supports innovative cross-system collaboration for individuals with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who come into contact with the justice system.

Webinars

Sharing Information between Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Systems

Sharing Information between Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Systems

This webinar was presented to Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program and Second Chance Act Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders grantees discussed strategies for developing information sharing collaborations between criminal justice and behavioral health systems.

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

This webinar provides foundational knowledge on RNR as well as guidance on understanding and implementing risk assessment tools as a way to direct resources and support recidivism-reduction strategies for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers.

Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

This webinar provides an overview of three briefs that were recently published by National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges on the treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders among youth.

Publications

Indiana’s Justice Reinvestment Journey

In this article from the Spring 2016 edition of Executive Exchange, Linda Brady recounts the justice reinvestment process in Indiana, which has involved overhauling the state’s criminal code over the course of several years, appropriating $55 million in funding for grant programs for technology-based programs and substance use and mental health treatment and services, and establishing a Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council to oversee progress.

Behavioral Health Barometer, 2015

These reports present data about key aspects of substance use and mental health care issues, and provide a unique overview of behavioral health.

Municipal Courts: An Effective Tool for Diverting People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders from the Criminal Justice System

Municipal Courts: An Effective Tool for Diverting People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders from the Criminal Justice System

This report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration examines the opportunities and challenges associated with municipal court diversion, and outlines elements for effective practice: identification and screening; court-based clinician; recovery-engagement strategies; and proportional response.

Recent headlines

NY Gov. Cuomo: Give Medicaid to Inmates Prior to Release

The Democratic governor says too many inmates leave prison with serious mental health and addiction challenges and that helping them get the care they need improves their chances of successfully re-entering society.

New Medicaid Guidance Improves Access to Health Care for Justice-Involved Americans Reentering Their Communities

The new Medicaid guidance updates decades-old policy and clarifies that individuals who are currently on probation, parole or in home confinement are not considered inmates of a public institution. It also extends coverage to Medicaid-eligible individuals living in community halfway houses where they have freedom of movement, improving access to care for as many as 96,000 individuals in Medicaid expansion states over the course of the year.

A Summit on the Mentally Ill in U.S. Jails

Amid growing recognition that large numbers of U.S. jail inmates suffer from mental health problems, three major organizations have gathered teams from 50 places in Washington, D.C., to plan a detailed attack on the problem.

Study Links Short Prison Sentences to Early Death

Serving time in prison — even brief sentences of less than a year — can cause long-term health effects and lead to earlier deaths, according to new research on the health impacts of incarceration.

Obama Finalizes New Mental Health Rules for Medicaid

The rules aim to strengthen the existing 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires health insurers to offer the same level of benefits for mental health and substance abuse that they do for physical health.

Obama Announces New Moves to Fight Opioid and Heroin Abuse Epidemic

Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said, “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorders has been a top priority for this administration. Research clearly shows that this approach, when combined with behavioral therapies, is more effective at sustaining recovery and preventing overdose.”

House Action Imperative in the Fight Against Addiction

Provisions within CARA, such as community-based anti-drug coalitions and a national education campaign, will help rebuild communities, deter young Americans from trying the drug, and stall the increase of addicts, overdoses and deaths.