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

Register for Webinar: Increasing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses Connected to Treatment

Register for Webinar: Increasing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses Connected to Treatment

Join the national Stepping Up partners for the third webinar in the four key measures webinar series, where a national expert joins representatives from Calaveras County, California, and Johnson County, Kansas, to describe strategies for increasing connection to treatment in jails and in the community for people who have mental illnesses; they will also outline data points to collect, analyze, and track over time.

Apply Now: Soros Justice Fellowships

Apply Now: Soros Justice Fellowships

The grants provide funding for projects that advance reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on a range of issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system.

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

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program Resource Center

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program Resource Center

This resource center is an online clearinghouse of information, training, and other resources that support a variety of state, local, and tribal users, including BJA COAP grantees, policymakers, partner agencies and associations, peer recovery coaches, and families affected by the nationwide opioid epidemic.

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.

Recent headlines

Butler County Honoring Those Who Help Mentally Ill, Addicts

Rhonda Benson, executive director of the Butler County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said each honoree epitomizes the purpose of the Stepping Up Initiative, which is to provide services and help for the mentally ill rather than having them repeatedly jailed.

U.S. Surgeon General Calls for Education, Awareness to Combat Opioid Crisis

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who holds the rank of vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, said he and other health care professionals were once “part of the problem” by overprescribing opioids as painkillers, but now he’s “excited to be part of the solution.”

‘Stepping Up’ for Recovery

Miami County is already trying to do a lot of things recommended by the Stepping Up program, pointing to the partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, and the Miami County Recovery Council.

A Chance to Restart: Care and Support Are Critical for Women Leaving Prison

“A lot of women, when they go to prison, we see them just needing a lot of therapy. Someone to talk to. They need to be built back up, given skills,” said Melissa Ludin, board president of Ex-Prisoners Organizing, or EXPO. “And when they get released and they still have that baggage, it’s very difficult.”

LEADing the Way: Jail Diversion Program Aims to Address Opioid Crisis

Realizing they can’t arrest their way out of the opioid epidemic, the Waynesville Police Department has partnered with other agencies to find new solutions to address these problems. Det. Paige Shell traveled to Seattle two years ago to learn about an innovative program called LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) that has been successfully implemented by law enforcement to address drug crime and recidivism.

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.