WSubstance abuse causes a host of bad public health outcomes including unintentional injuries, accidents, risk of domestic violence, medical problems, and even death…and alcohol abuse is at the top of the list.  Drinking too much increases your chances of being injured or even killed.  Alcohol is a factor in about 60% of homicides, 50% of severe trauma injuries, and 40% of car crashes and suicides.  Clearly, alcohol abuse prevention is key to improving public health outcomes in Arizona.

Last year alcohol remained the most common substance used by those in treatment for substance abuse in Arizona.  Thirty-one percent (31%) of folks that receive substance abuse services through our behavioral health programs sought help for alcohol dependence or abuse.

For most people, a combination of medication and behavioral therapy is most successful.  Medication Assisted Treatment is an approach that includes drug intervention as part of a comprehensive substance abuse treatment plan.  Additional behavioral therapies include peer and family support groups, outpatient counseling, or residential treatment.

Arizona’s substance abuse treatment services are funded through a variety of sources including private insurance, Medicaid, grants as well as state dollars.  ADHS spent about $128M in service funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention last year via Medicaid and a number of federal grants including the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block grant, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness grant, Screening, Brief, Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant, and the State Youth Treatment Grant, Prevention Framework Partnership for Success grant.

Our 2015 substance abuse prevention and treatment program goals include: 1) Using SBIRT in emergency rooms and with primary care physicians in Northern Arizona; 2) Increasing the use of evidenced-based practices in substance abuse prevention and treatment; 3) Improving the network of substance abuse prevention services providers; 4) Continuing to expand the availability and use of medically-assisted treatment options using federal grant funds; 5) Implementing interventions in the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative; and 6) Continuing to integrate peer and family support services and self-help participation.

In 2015 we’ll also be implementing a statewide media campaign targeted at reducing underage drinking.  The campaign will be designed to increase awareness around the dangers of alcohol use as well as to provide statistics and relevant laws.