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White paper discusses integrating substance abuse treatment into primary care (USA)

November 25, 2010

The challenges, opportunities and promising practices associated with programs that integrate substance abuse services into primary care are detailed in a new American report released by the Treatment Research Institute (TRI).

The white paper summarizes the results of the 2010 Forum on Integration, a conference hosted by TRI in April 2010, and is intended to serve as a roadmap for new integration projects. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the conference brought together leaders of integration initiatives from across the USA to describe their programs, summarize the challenges they face, and offer solutions to those challenges. Four prevailing themes were identified at the conference and are discussed in the paper: the need for more widespread screening and intervention in general practice, the creative use of existing staff to implement integration programs, the barrier presented by lack of funding for such programs, and the success of existing programs for diverse patient populations.

The paper summarizes real world experience and existing research that show how substance abuse treatment services can be successfully integrated into medical and other care settings, and discusses how to overcome the lack of connection between specialty and general health care professionals treating people with substance abuse disorders.

See “Integrating Appropriate Services for Substance Use Conditions in Health Care Settings: An Issue Brief on Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead,” Treatment Research Institute, July 2010, available at www.tresearch.org.

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