SAMHSA or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration is a branch of the US government which was given a mandate to deal with the treatment and recovery of people with or are at risk from drug abuse or mental illness. The organization deals with substance abuse, criminal justice, children and families, ageing, substance abuse treatment capacity, strategic prevention framework for substance abuse, homelessness, Disaster readiness and response, seclusion and restraint, HIV/AIDS and the formulation of a strategic prevention framework for substance abuse. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), it is estimated that between 1.2 to 1.6 million visits to the Emergency Departments of Federal, State and Private Hospitals in 2005 alone as a result of drug misuse and abuse.
This branch of the US Human Health Department works in conjunction with the FDA, NIDA and many other government agencies, in efforts to prevent the proliferation of restricted drugs and the accompanying problem associated with addiction that has risen to alarming levels in the past few years. The primary function of the SAMHSA is to use its resources through state and community programs that are aimed at the treatment of addiction and dependence, prevention of substance abuse and to provide better and improved treatment and facilities for metal health related cases. This branch of the Health Department enhances the USA to serve better its people with the risk of mental and substance abuse disorders by assessing resources, supporting community based care systems. It also improves services by better financing and organization to promote a well educated workforce through well developed service delivery practices, the identification and promotion of evidence-based approaches to care and use of innovative services. SAMSHA also provides training facilities and skills to educate better the workforce who handle these services.
Through its grant programs it funds public and professional initiatives and communication activities in its effort to move new evidence-based knowledge in behavioral health services to community-level services nationwide. Key activities and achievements include Access to Recovery, which provides financial assistance for people who are seeking drug and alcohol treatment to avail of community-based services.
It is estimated Americans aged 12 or older were classified with substance abuse or dependence and nearly 20 million adults aged 18 and older were living with serious mental illness according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by SAMHSA. These millions of affected Americans either cannot afford or get to the appropriate regimen of treatment to alleviate and subsequently remove dependence on these substances. Both, substance abuse and mental illness are now considered treatable with chronic illnesses from which people can and do recover through the proper dispensing of services and drugs.
The problems that arise from substance abuse and mental illness can be dramatically reduced through prevention and early detection with the use of state-of-the-art, research-based services and facilities. This is done to allow people who are either at high risk of mental or substance use disorders the opportunity to get the proper care through the use of the proper methods to allow them to live as productive members of society.
SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services, leads the Federal Government’s efforts in expanding the availability, accessibility and superior quality community-based services for adults with mental impairment and emotionally disturbed children. The center collects, analyzes and disseminates national data regarding mental health services in support of SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center which serves as a one-stop source of resources and referrals on the various topics regarding mental health. SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), offers the same benefits as those suffering from mental illnesses mentioned above through research-based services and treatment. It also supports the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information(NCADI), the largest Federal source of information on substance abuse, research, treatment and prevention available to the public. The Office of Applied Studies (OAS) collects and analyzes national data regarding behavioral health practices and issues for dissemination to the American public.
The SAMHSA follows principles that were formulated by its proponent agencies and leadership that states that prevention is not only possible when it comes to substance abuse, but through rigorous prevention and education can effectively reduce the demand for drugs that are usually associated with drug abuse. The next one states that anyone who does have a drug addiction or re-occurrence of such can recover with the incentive of providing the proper facility and means through proper disbursement of funds to the appropriate community-based treatment centers. This is complementary to the country’s drug use reduction program which was endorsed by the President of the US that has exceeded the 10 percent requirement to the current level of 14 percent. It also provides these services to all federal and local government employees where it conducts studies that are included in the information gathering, analysis and interpretation of programs for these stated employees.
SAMHSA in coordination of NIDA work under the US Department of Human Health services to come up with more effective ways in the treatment and prevention of the above stated problems with a budget allocation of around $3.3Billion from the Federal Government and Private sector through Donations. The funding goes into the improvement and implementation of better approaches to treatment and prevention that starts in schools as early as grade school. The release of publications through dissemination programs helps to inform parents and the general public alone of all information relevant to the early detection, treatment and recovery of individuals who have been affected by the use of illegal drugs. School programs described as Start Early Drug Prevention Measures have been marginally successful making them one of the focus areas of SAMHSA where the evidence-based services are making a huge impact on children from age 12 up.
Some children begin addiction even before they reach adolescence which makes it more urgent for these agencies and parents to cooperate to prevent or if already in place to seek the appropriate treatment regimen through accredited community based service providers funded by SAMHSA and other organizations under the US DHHS.