Substance Abuse and Mental Health
James Craigen and Laura House, Ph.D.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee proposes several activities for 2007 to inform and educate the NABSW body of important issues related to substance abuse and mental health in the African American community. These activities include the following:
· We propose to host a public policy forum at the summer of fall 2007 steering committee focusing on a substance abuse or mental health issue and its impact on the African American community.
· We propose to identify goals and objectives for the committee.
· We propose to conduct outreach to identify major organizations and individuals with whom we can collaborate with on substance abuse and mental health issues. We would also like to develop written agreements with these organizations clearly stating any projects or activities on which we will collaborate.
· We propose to develop a position statement/or paper for NABSW highlighting our position on substance abuse and mental health issues and the specific ways in which these issues impact the African American community.
· We propose to develop a substance abuse/mental health workshop track for the 2008 conference and recruit at least 10 individuals to submit abstracts to present.
· We propose to coordinate a roundtable or forum on substance abuse and mental health issues in the African American community for the 2008 national conference.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee has identified several legislative issues and actions that are important for the NABSW leadership and general body to become aware of and involved in at the national, state and local levels. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Proposition 36/model sentencing statutes/drug courts: The California-initiated law that mandates treatment instead of incarceration for most people convicted of nonviolent drug possession offenses.
- Senator Paul Wellstone Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S.558): The legislative act that provides protection to more than 113 million Americans in health care programs sponsored by large employers (those with more than 50 employees). It ensures that the benefits and financial burdens assigned to behavioral health services are on a par with the medical and surgical benefits. This remedies the discrimination that has been permitted against those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders by providing greater access to mental health and substance abuse services.
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Act: This act allows the government to allocate funds to religious charities and set up a voucher system for services.