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CommunityResponse Adds Substance Use Screening

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In response to the increase of local substance overdose deaths, the Gloucester Police Department in Massachusetts created a policy that allows anyone who asks for assistance in getting into treatment for their substance misuse be connected with a detox and a recovery treatment facility and will not be charged with a crime. This policy has received national attention, as an important step in allowing those who want to seek treatment the opportunity to do so without the fear of legal ramifications.

As Gloucester Police Chief police chief Leonard Campanello said in his interview with The Atlantic, "Addiction itself is not a crime, it's a disease.” In April of 2016, Screening for Mental Health launched the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) tool to all current clients that had been using our Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) screening tool. The ASSIST provides an additional measure by which individuals can be screened for their use of substances, and includes additional questions about alcohol use.

The ASSIST screening was developed by the World Health Organization in response to the public health epidemic of substance misuse. The ASSIST tool plays a crucial part in identifying substance misuse behaviors and provides appropriate resources for those who screen consistent with substance use disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) surveyed the nation on substance use and found that 24.6 million people over the age of 12 needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol misuse problem in the United States.

The ASSIST is an important step for individuals to determine if they or someone they love is having difficulty controlling their substance use. If you would like more information please contact the CommunityResponse team at Community@MentalHealthScreening.org.


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