Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), was established in 1992 by the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (Pub. L. No. 102-321). SAMHSA provides national leadership in the prevention and treatment of addictive and mental disorders, through programs and services for individuals who suffer from these disorders. SAMSHA works in partnership with states, communities, and private organizations in order to provide treatment and rehabilitative services to affected persons. In fiscal year 2002 the agency's budget was over three billion dollars. SAMSHA employs about 550 staff members.

Within SAMHSA are several major centers designated to carry out its purposes. The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) develops and implements federal policy for the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, and analyzes the effect of other federal, state, and local programs also designed to prevent such abuse. CSAP administers and operates grant programs for the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse among specific populations, such as high-risk youth and women with dependent children, and in particular settings, including schools and the workplace. CSAP also supports training for health professionals working in alcohol and drug abuse education and prevention.

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) provides national leadership in developing and administering programs focusing on the treatment of substance abuse. CSAT works with states, local communities, and healthcare providers by providing financial assistance to improve and expand programs for treating substance abuse. CSAT, like CSAP, also focuses on specific populations by administering and evaluating grant programs like the Comprehensive Residential Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, which treats women who abuse substances, and their children, and helps to train healthcare providers working in substance abuse prevention.

The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) promotes, on the federal level, the prevention and treatment of mental disorders, by identifying national mental health goals and developing strategies to meet them. CMHS works to improve the quality of programs that serve both the individuals suffering from these disorders and their families. Like other component centers carrying out the goals of SAMHSA, CMHS administers grants and programs that help states and local governments provide mental healthcare and services. CMHS also works with the alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health institutes of the National Institutes of Health, the principal biomedical research agency of the federal government, in researching the effective delivery of mental health services.

The Office of Management, Planning, and Communications (OMPC) is responsible for the financial and administrative management of SAMHSA components, including their personnel management and computer support functions. OMPC also monitors and analyzes pending legislation affecting SAMHSA components and acts as a liaison between SAMHSA and congressional committees. In addition, OMPC oversees the public affairs activities of SAMHSA, including public relations and interaction with the media to facilitate coverage of SAMHSA programs and objectives. Finally, OMPC collects and compiles alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment literature and supports the CSAP National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. The clearing-house then disseminates its materials to state and local governments, healthcare and drug treatment programs, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

Over the years SAMSHA has identified new topics and activities that build on prevention goals and systems of care for persons dealing with mental illness, substance use or abuse. SAMSHA research has provided the basis for numerous initiatives regarding communitybased prevention, identification, and treatment programs. Despite these efforts SAMSHA issued a press release in January 2003 indicating that prescription drug abuse by teenagers and young adults was continuing to increase.

Further readings

Erickson, Patricia, ed. 1997. Harm Reduction: A New Direction for Drug Policies and Programs. Toronto: Toronto Univ. Press.

Gray, James P. 2001. Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Available online at <> (accessed August 13, 2003).


Addict; Drugs and Narcotics.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1994, the Clinton administration named Nelba Chavez, PhD, then director of juvenile probation services for San Francisco, as SAMHSA's first appointed administrator.
All too often, people are treated for only one of the two disorders, said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie.
As originally adopted, the SAMHSA regulations required any disclosure of a patient record made pursuant to patient consent to include a lengthy written notice about the prohibition on re-disclosure.
SAMHSA says it put that list in the introduction to the regulation, rather than in the official text of the regulation, because it wants the list of entities that can get the information to be flexible, to accommodate changes in how health plans work.
The SAMHSA announcement reminds readers that the 1975 regulations were enacted "because of the concern that if the identities of people in treatment for substance use were revealed those patients might be subject to criminal prosecution and a wide range of other serious social consequences," and thereby deter people from seeking needed treatment.
"Today's action will provide even more access to medication-assisted treatment," said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Enomoto.
According to a Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report, the reasons for the shift to accreditation to replace Food and Drug Administration oversight included the following:
"Heroin use has reached alarming levels throughout our nation and we must work together to overcome this serious public health threat," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said, Sputnik reported.
And among those enrolled, SAMHSA reports that 43 percent have both alcohol and drug addictions.
In October, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the findings of a new clinical study providing national data on the prevalence of specific mental disorders in adults.
WASHINGTON -- With more adolescents reporting a major depressive episode and the number of adults with any mental illness holding steady, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S.