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States are Already Taking Steps to Address this Issue

Governors and State officials are moving above and beyond federal requirements related to support for the National Guard and Reserves as many return from overseas assignments. On April 22, 2008, NASADAD submitted testemony to the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health on H.R. 5554, Veterans Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008, and highlighted many of the State programs already addressing this issue.  Examples of these programs include:

Vermont’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs reports the development of a State interagency team; trainings for providers on veterans issues; and training for professionals working with children and families.

California’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) is working to infuse veterans issues into the State-wide needs assessment and planning effort. ADP participated in a veterans conference in January 2008 to discuss and prepare for the needs of OIF/OEF veterans.

Washington State’s Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA) reports working with the U.S. Army at Ft. Lewis, the Washington State National Guard, and the State Office of Veterans Affairs to engage returning veterans.

Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA), in cooperation with the DMHA Advisory Council, convened a forum that included the VA Veterans Integrate Service Network (VISN) 11, Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Roudebush Medical Center, VA Northern Indiana Medical Center, and the Indiana National Guard, to discuss the needs of returning veterans and to explore opportunities for collaboration. DMHA’s Advisory Council, State Planning Council, and Transformation Working Group include VA representatives. The Division has also designated a liaison to VISN 11.

Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) has participated in a multi-agency collaborative since 2006, spearheaded by Ohio’s Adjutant General, to develop a network of specially trained community-based alcohol and other drug and mental health providers to address the unique behavioral health needs of returning soldiers. This initiative, referred to as OHIOCARES, has trained over 400 community-based providers including veteran’s administration and state mental health institution personnel. The OHIOCARES collaborative has convened two statewide conferences, published a brochure for military personnel and their families on how to access  services, a resource guide to assist returning service members during their transition from active duty and a 1-800 number (1-800-761-0868) and website.

Iowa’s Division of Behavioral Health reports working with traumatic brain injury advocates and service providers. The Division is also working to link with VA systems and participating in training through a suicide prevention grant.

Oklahoma’s Department of Mental Health is providing briefings to families impacted by deployment.

Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP) participates on the Returning Pennsylvania Military Task Force, along with the Pennsylvania National Guard, Social Security Administration, State Civil Service Commission, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, and others. BDAP also sponsored a regional training event in September 2007 - Serving Those Who Serve: Veterans and their Families. The event attracted 170 individuals and provided five specific courses designed for counselors and therapists.

New Hampshire’s Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy reports work with the New Hampshire National Guard to augment alcohol and other drug intervention service and treatment services with current services for those returning home from war.

New York’s Office on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) reports funding Samaritan Village since 1996 which offers a 48 bed treatment facility for veterans in Manhattan; a new 50-bed residential facility will be placed in Queens; $280,000 was allocated for prevention counseling in the Fort Drum impacted schools; and a program model is being developed to bring 100 new residential beds for veterans into the system that will be responsive to the needs and characteristics of veterans, including traumatic brain injury, PTSD and other issues.

New Jersey’s Division of Addiction Services (DAS) reports participation on the Veterans Subcommittee of the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which is developing a directory of resources to be distributed to veterans affiliated government and private agencies. DAS is working with military officials at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in an effort to provide them with training opportunities for evidence-based Strengthening Families prevention program which could then be implemented on base.

Kentucky’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse is working with the State provider network to determine the impact of returning veterans and others seeking services in the public sector. The State reports that a number of providers have reported increases in the number of veterans in the publicly funded system and report an increased need for family and children’s services.

* The above information was taken directly from the NAADAC Report on Testimony on H.R. 5554, the Veterans Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008.


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