It is an honor and a pleasure to share this important document, "A Life in the Community for Everyone—Reducing Substance Abuse in America: Building the Nation’s Demand Reduction Infrastructure–A Framework for Discussion." Americans know all too well the human and financial costs and burdens of substance abuse—to individuals and families, as well as to communities and States. Now we are thankfully and finally at a turning point in America—one where we have come to recognize and embrace three fundamental principles at the core of my vision for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "A Life in the Community for Everyone."
The first of these principles is that prevention is not only possible, but is incredibly effective in reducing the demand for drugs through rigorous prevention and education efforts that embrace the natural resiliency of Americans. The second is that people with substance use and co-occurring mental health conditions can and do recover. When they take that brave step toward seeking help and the right treatment and services take hold, be they our brothers, our sisters, our children, or ourselves, the bright promise of recovery can unfold. The third is that we have finally recognized, and actually done something about, the long-neglected need to focus on designing, building, enhancing, expanding, and sustaining our Nation’s substance abuse prevention and treatment infrastructure—in States, in communities, and in families—by supporting the capacity of providers to deliver effective prevention and treatment programs and services for people in need. Keeping these three principles—the resiliency of Americans, the promise of recovery, and the need for effective infrastructures—at the core of everything that SAMHSA does is what has led us closer every day to achieving our mission of building resiliency and promoting recovery.
With the steadfast support of President George W. Bush and Health and Human Services' Secretary Michael Leavitt, we have witnessed an evolution both within SAMHSA and within the broader fields of substance abuse prevention and treatment. Infrastructures now exist to logically and systematically bring to bear the full potential of our prevention and treatment resources and efforts at the level of local communities. This publication invites you to learn how SAMHSA has actively pursued our agenda—by implementing strategic prevention frameworks in States and communities, by offering new ways to access treatments and supports that provide more choice and more focus on sustaining recovery, by focusing our data collection and analysis efforts to provide communities with early warning signals and effective responses to emerging trends in drug abuse, and by implementing a set of national outcomes measures with States and communities to demonstrate to the American public that what we are doing works and is worthy.
I thank those of you in our Nation who joined with me and our many other partners in striving to achieve SAMHSA's mission of "A Life in the Community for Everyone." Now more than ever, we need to continue our unwavering commitment until this vision reaches reality—let us continue to develop resilient communities and embrace the promise of recovery together.
Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.