Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Drug Strategy Pairs Treatment, Law Enforcement

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Drug Strategy Pairs Treatment, Law Enforcement

Article excerpt

Teenagers and young adults are targeted in a 5-year plan outlined in the Obama administration's National Drug Control Strategy to re duce illegal drug use by 15% and 10%, respectively.

The strategy, released last month by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), also sets goals for the reduction of drug-induced deaths and drug-related morbidity by 15% and the prevalence of drugged driving by 10% among all Americans over the same period.

Key to the success of attaining these goals is the focus on prevention, which would include screening and early intervention; treatment and recovery; and law enforcement, which would address the trafficking and production of illicit drugs and the related cycle of crime, delinquency, and imprisonment.

Dr. Robert L. DuPont, a psychiatrist who was the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and founding president of the Rockville, Md.--based Institute for Behavior and Health, said the strategy is focused on the primary goal of reducing the demand for drugs. "Teaming law enforcement with treatment makes both work better."

President Obama had called for a policy rooted in "common sense, sound science, and practical evidence" guided by "sound principles of public health and public safety." As such, it will incorporate educating young people, who are most at-risk for substance abuse; the allocation of substantial funding for treatment, including recovery, and research; and a comprehensive crime strategy. Communities and community-based faith and civic organizations in particular will be better equipped to implement initiatives.

Access, Reimbursement Expanded

The plan also advocates situating addiction screening, intervention, treatment, and recovery firmly within mainstream health care settings by educating providers about screening and brief intervention techniques and expanding access to and reimbursement for those services. A trial of pay-for-performance contracting might be launched in some states. Such incentives are already in place in a few states where contracted programs that deliver prompt and effective service to addicted patients are rewarded.

Access-to-recovery programs, often run by faith-and community-based groups that provide recovering people with vouchers for things such as treatment or recovery services or transitional housing, will also receive a boost under the program.

Dr. Mark S. Gold, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Florida, Gainesville, said the most important component of the drug control strategy is parity and access to treatment. "Physician addicts have 5-year outcomes proven by drug testing and return to work of greater than 80%. …

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