2012 National Drug Control Strategy Emphasizes Prevention, Treatment, Diversion (and Applauds Reclaiming Futures)
Speaking at this year's annual JMATE conference, the Office of National Drug Control Policy's David Mineta stressed the Administration's priority on drug prevention, treatment and diversion programs. "Addiction can be overcome and recovery is absolutely possible," he said. "And we need to make sure our young people have the brightest future possible. It's personal for us."
With the recent release of the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy [pdf], it's clear that the Administration plans to follow up Mineta's remarks with a strong policy strategy for reducing drug use and its consequences. In particular, the Strategy recommends diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment, supporting reentry programs to help offenders rejoin their communities and bolstering innovative enforcement programs.
Writing in the White House Blog, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, U.S. Attorney General Holder and ONDCP Director Kerlikowske explain their multi-agency approach to reducing drug use and supporting recovery efforts:
Our emphasis on addressing the drug problem through a public health approach is grounded in decades of research and scientific study. There is overwhelming evidence that drug prevention and treatment programs achieve meaningful results with significant long-term cost savings. In fact, recent research has shown that each dollar invested in an evidence-based prevention program can reduce costs related to substance use disorders by an average of $18.
But reducing the burden of our Nation’s drug problem stretches beyond prevention and treatment. We need an all of the above approach. To address this problem in a comprehensive way, the President’s new Strategy also applies the principles of public health to reforming the criminal justice system, which continues to play a vital role in drug policy. It outlines ways to break the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and arrest by diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment, bolstering support for reentry programs that help offenders rejoin their communities, and advancing support for innovative enforcement programs proven to improve public health while protecting public safety.
In recognizing the potential of the criminal justice system in deterring/reducing/treating drug and alcohol addiction, the Strategy praises Reclaiming Futures for its work in addressing substance abuse and mental health problems among youth in the juvenile system:
North Carolina Update: Screening for Adolescent Substance Abuse
The first step of the Reclaiming Futures model is to screen youth entering the juvenile justice system for substance abuse problems using a reputable screening tool. Each of the six sites in North Carolina have adopted the Global Appraisal for Individual Needs Short Screener (GAIN-SS).
￼From 2010-2011, 2,663 GAIN screeners were completed with 2,490 youth in Reclaiming Futures' North Carolina sites. Of these screenings, 22% scored at moderate to high risk on the substance disorder screener. This indicates that these youths may need substance abuse, dependence or substance use disorder treatment and therefore should be referred for further assessment. Approximately 18% of youth scored high risk on the overall screening with an additional 75% scoring moderate risk, indicating need for substance abuse and/or mental health assessment/treatment.
This tool has been made available to all counties through the North Carolina Juvenile Online Information Network (NC-JOIN). Since July 2011, 58 counties have used NC-JOIN to track results of the GAIN screening results. This data is then used to make appropriate referrals and in development of service plans for youths.
DC Superior Court Helps Teens with Mental Health Problems
A Superior Court in Washington, D.C., is redirecting minors with mental health problems from the juvenile system to treatment and rehabilitation. JM-4, a former juvenile mental health division court, is led by Magistrate Judge Joan Goldfrank, who is known for listening to families and dispensing wisdom and services to kids.
“The message I want to give them is that they are supported,” Goldfrank told the Washington Post. “The whole point of juvenile justice is rehabilitation. How could we not do it on the kids’ side?”
JM-4 is one of a dozen courts in the country that aims to help young people with mental health issues without incarcerating them.
From the Washington Post:
2011's top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse
Here are our top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse from 2011:
#10. School Superintendent to Governor: Please make my school a prison
A Michigan public school superintendent asked the state's Governor to classify his school as a prison in order to receive additional funding for his students.
#9. School-to-prison pipeline: Why school discipline is the key (video) and what to do about it
We took a look at school disciplinary policies and Connecticut's efforts to disrupt the pipeline and educate its kids.
#8. House Appropriations Committee eliminates most juvenile justice funding
John Kelly took a look at a bill before the House of Representatives that would eliminate most federal spending for juvenile justice activities.
#7. SAMHSA changes substance abuse and mental health block grants - your comments (still) needed!
SAMHSA revamped its block grant applications for substance abuse and mental health treatment and asked for comments on proposed changes.
#6. Adolescent substance abuse: "bath salts" an emerging risk
We warned about the emerging use of "bath salts" as stimulants and the DEA's reaction against them.
Law school partners with reclaiming futures to help teens and more -- a juvenile justice news roundup
- Join the CyberShoutout October 28: Making Smart Choices Kicking off National Drug Facts Week, the CyberShoutout is a day-long special event featuring discussions in social media by bloggers, organization leaders, and other stakeholders on the topic of youth drug abuse. The Shout is hosted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
- National Drug Facts Week is October 31-November 6
Hosted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Drug Facts Week is a health observance week for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. Through community-based events and activities on the Web, on TV, and through contests, NIDA is working to encourage teens to get factual answers from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse.
- Abstracts Due November 1 for JMATE
The Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness offers a unique opportunity for for practice, research and treatment communities to exchange ideas and data, thereby moving the field of adolescent treatment toward effective, evidence-based and promising practices. The conference is Tuesday, April 10 through Thursday, April 12, 2012 in Washington, DC.
GAIN Short Screener IDs Needs of Adolescents in Washington, No Matter Which Door They Come In
Marijuana Debate Turns Serious
It's remarkable how suddenly the debate over marijuana legalization has moved from the fringes to mainstream.
Integrating the GAIN ABS System with an Electronic Record System like WITS
[As adolescent treatment providers invest in eletronic medical record systems, a natural question arises: how do we integrate our assessment tool into our new record system? Dr. Michael Dennis, creator of the GAIN, has some answers. --Ed.]
This post is a little technical, so here's the bottom line: we will be happy to work with individual treatment providers or with vendors to customize their systems to integrate GAIN data into their electronic medical records. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for contact information.)
During the past 3 years, Chestnut Health Systems has collaborated with the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and over 30 agencies to revise the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) instrument and software to allow it to better integrate with the growing number of electronic medical records systems. Several people have asked us to give a brief update on the status of what we have done so far in this area.
Protecting Youth in the Justice System from Self-Incrimination
Lourdes Rosado is a Senior Attorney for Juvenile Law Center. Below, she introduces a useful guide to help your community screen teens for behavioral health and drug problems while protecting their rights in and out of juvenile court. Juvenile Law Center is the oldest multi-issue public interest law firm in the country dedicated to advancing the rights and well-being of children in jeopardy.—Ed.
When Are Teens Screened for Substance Abuse in Your Legal System? -- Survey Results
Recently, we asked you to take a survey, in order to address some basic questions:
- At what point in the legal process do you screen youth for alcohol and drug use/abuse?
- What screening tool are you using? How well do you think it works?
- If you perform pre-adjudication screenings, how do you make sure the results do not interfere with the rights of the child in court?
Thanks to all who participated, so we can present our extremely unscientific results.