Integrating Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for Justice-Involved Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders

This presentation was produced for the GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation. The presentation was authored by Fred Osher, M.D., and Ann-Marie Louison. It explores the need for mental and substance use services in the criminal justice system to address the prevalence of co-occurring disorders (CODs), as well as supplemental statistics regarding mental illness and CODs in incarcerated populations.

CODs are defined by the diagnosis of at least one substance use disorder in addition to a mental disorder, where both disorders are identifiably discrete, rather than multiple symptoms of one disorder. People with CODs are vulnerable to relapse, hospitalization, housing instability, and increased rates of physical illness. When efficient universal screenings are deployed in justice settings, it facilitates the integration of mental health and substance use services for justice-involved persons with CODs, laying the groundwork for reduced recidivism and better-met needs. Several core principles of such integrated treatment include close monitoring, using harm reduction strategies and evidence-based practices, and ensuring a stable living situation. These efforts are linked to encouraging results; research has shown that treatment-oriented supervision reduces the chances of recidivism for adult offenders by 21.9 percent.

This resource was first shared in 2014.

(Presentation, PDF, 2 MB)

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