SAMHSA’s GAINS Center

SAMHSA's GAINS Center logo

Question: As a former prosecutor, a current judge, and president of Families Against Narcotics (FAN), you have several vantage points on working with individuals, families, and communities impacted by substance use disorders. What are one or two key insights gained through these multiple lenses that you believe are important for your colleagues in behavioral health,… Read More


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Sid Gardner, President of Children and Family Futures An evolution is underway in adult drug courts (ADCs) that are moving toward serving children and families affected by their relatives’ substance use disorders. Many drug court clients have children. When a parent experiences physical, mental, or other disabilities, their family is impacted. Nationwide, approximately 8.7 million… Read More


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Michelle N. Cleary, M.A., Senior Project Associate and Philip Paty, Project Assistant, SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance Center, Policy Research Associates During the month of November, we celebrate Veterans Day (11/11) and the Marine Corps birthday (11/10). We also recognize it as the Month of the Military Family. This spotlight on… Read More


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Christina Love is Training Project Specialist with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault My name is Christina Love. I am Alutiiq/Sugpiaq (Aleut) and a trauma survivor who has experienced co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. I currently work as a specialist on intersectionality for Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault,… Read More


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Question 1 In your response to the obituary of Maddie Linsenmeir, you list 12 strategies that communities can use to lower the number of fatal overdoses and addiction-related deaths. Many of the strategies you mention relate to public health/medicine. Question 1a What do you envision as the ideal relationship between law enforcement and public health… Read More


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By Melissa Reuland Information sharing across behavioral health and criminal justice systems is critical to reducing the number of people with mental and substance use disorders in jails. At the point of service, the availability of information related to the person’s treatment history and condition can enhance safety, improve the individual’s health, and support recovery… Read More


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Tell us about your work with Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). What does a typical week look like? Who are the people and organizations you work with regularly? My work at LEAD consists of overseeing all activities related to the National Support Bureau’s effort to support replication nationally through technical assistance and advice. We do… Read More


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Why Disparity Impact Statements Matter Across behavioral health and criminal justice systems, there are well documented disparities in services for and poorer outcomes among groups of different cultures or ethnic backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations.  To address these problems, it is important that agencies and institutions clearly understand the groups they serve and develop strategies… Read More


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By Kevin Cleare, Peer Support Implementation Coordinator at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene I came home from prison in 2007 with the assistance of a peer organization that developed a relationship with me while I was incarcerated. The organization, called Hands Across Long Island (HALI), employs peers with lived experience… Read More


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In April 2018, SAMHSA’s GAINS Center convened a Best Practices Implementation Academy for local behavioral health, law enforcement, and criminal justice teams focused on reducing justice involvement among people with mental and substance use disorders. One plenary of the conference focused on considering racial and ethnic disparities in local strategic planning efforts. James Bell, founder… Read More


In January 2018, as part of the response to recent legislation in Mississippi, House Bill 585, which mandates that the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) provide benefits assistance to individuals preparing to be released from incarceration, MDOC applied for and received the SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance grant offered to criminal justice agencies.  On May 31,… Read More


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By Ayorkor Gaba, David Smelson, Debra A. Pinals, Kelsey Clary, & Idella Sanders-Jones Joe* smiles ear to ear as he receives his graduation certificate from his treatment court team, which includes his MISSION Peer Support Specialist and Case Manager. He humbly explains to the group in attendance that this was his first time graduating anything… Read More