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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1992; 31 years ago (1992-07)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersNorth Bethesda, Maryland (Rockville mailing address)
Agency executive
Parent departmentDepartment of Health and Human Services

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA; pronounced /ˈsæmsə/) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA is charged with improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and the cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. The Administrator of SAMHSA reports directly to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA's headquarters building is located outside of Rockville, Maryland.


The front of the SAMHSA building outside of Rockville, MD

SAMHSA was established in 1992 by Congress as part of a reorganization stemming from the abolition of Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA). ADAMHA had been established in 1973, combining the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The 1992 ADAMHA Reorganization Act consolidated the treatment functions that were previously scattered amongst the NIMH, NIAAA, and NIDA into SAMHSA, established as an agency of the Public Health Service (PHS). NIMH, NIAAA, and NIDA continued with their research functions as agencies within the National Institutes of Health.[2]

Congress directed SAMHSA to target effectively substance abuse and mental health services to the people most in need and to translate research in these areas more effectively and rapidly into the general health care system.[3]

Charles Curie was SAMHSA's Director until his resignation in May 2006. In December 2006 Terry Cline was appointed as SAMHSA's Director. Dr. Cline served through August 2008. Rear Admiral Eric Broderick served as the Acting Director upon Dr. Cline's departure,[4] until the arrival of the succeeding Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. in November 2009.[5] She resigned in August 2015[6] and Kana Enomoto, M.A. served as Acting Director of SAMHSA[7] until Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz was appointed as the inaugural Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse.[8] The title was changed by Section 6001 of the 21st Century Cures Act.[9]


SAMHSA headquarters at 5600 Fishers Lane in Rockville, Maryland

SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on American's communities.

Four SAMHSA offices, called Centers, administer competitive, formula, and block grant programs and data collection activities:[10]

The Centers give grant and contracts to U.S. states, territories, tribes, communities, and local organizations.[10] They support the provision of quality behavioral-health services such as addiction-prevention, treatment, and recovery-support services through competitive Programs of Regional and National Significance grants. Several staff offices support the Centers:[11]

  • Office of the Administrator
  • Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation
    • Office of Behavioral Health Equity
  • Office of Financial Resources
  • Office of Management, Technology, and Operations
  • Office of Communications
  • Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy[10]

Center for Mental Health Services[edit]

The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is a unit of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This U.S. government agency describes its role as:

The Center for Mental Health Services leads federal efforts to promote the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. Congress created CMHS to bring new hope to adults who have serious mental illness and children with emotional disorders.[12][13]

As of March 2016, the director of CMHS is Paolo del Vecchio.[12]

CMHS is the driving force behind the largest US children's mental health initiative to date, which is focused on creating and sustaining systems of care. This initiative provides grants (now cooperative agreements) to States, political subdivisions of States, territories, Indian Tribes and tribal organizations to improve and expand their Systems Of Care to meet the needs of the focus population—children and adolescents with serious emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders. The Children's Mental Health Initiative is the largest Federal commitment to children’s mental health to date, and through FY 2006, it has provided over $950 million to support SOC development in 126 communities.[citation needed]

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention[edit]

The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) aims to reduce the use of illegal substances and the abuse of legal ones.[14]

CSAP promotes self-esteem and cultural pride as a way to reduce the attractiveness of drugs, advocates raising taxes as a way to discourage drinking alcohol by young people, develops alcohol and drug curricula, and funds research on alcohol and drug abuse prevention. CSAP encourages the use of "evidence-based programs" for drug and alcohol prevention. Evidence-based programs are programs that have been rigorously and scientifically evaluated to show effectiveness in reducing or preventing drug use.

For example the SPF Rx grant program provides resources to help prevent and address prescription drug misuse within a State or locality. Recipients can include relatively small organisations such as PreventionFIRST! an organisation coordinating the activities of a number of bodies working within the Cincinnati area, with an annual turnover of around $2m.

The current director of CSAP is Frances Harding.

History and legal definition[edit]

CSAP was established in 1992 from the previous Office of Substance Abuse Prevention by the law called the ADAMHA Reorganization Act.[15] Defining regulations include those of Title 42.[16]

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment[edit]

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) was established in October 1992 with a Congressional mandate to expand the availability of effective treatment and recovery services for alcohol and drug problems. CSAT supports a variety of activities aimed at fulfilling its mission:

  • To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by alcohol and drug abuse by ensuring access to clinically sound, cost-effective addiction treatment that reduces the health and social costs to our communities and the nation.

CSAT works with States and community-based groups to improve and expand existing substance abuse treatment services under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program. CSAT also supports SAMHSA’s free treatment referral service to link people with the community-based substance abuse services they need. Because no single treatment approach is effective for all persons, CSAT supports the nation's effort to provide multiple treatment modalities, evaluate treatment effectiveness, and use evaluation results to enhance treatment and recovery approaches.

The current director of CSAT is Louis A. Trevisan, MD

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality[edit]

The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) conducts data collection and research on "behavioral health statistics" relating to mental health, addiction, substance use, and related epidemiology. CBHSQ is headed by a Director. Subunits of CBHSQ include:[17]

  • Office of Program Analysis and Coordination
  • Division of Surveillance and Data Collection
  • Division of Evaluation, Analysis and Quality

The Center's headquarters are outside of Rockville, Maryland.[17]

The Center is directed by Dr. Naomi Tomoyasu, Ph.D.[18]

Regional offices[edit]

CMS has its headquarters outside of Rockville, Maryland[19] with 10 regional offices located throughout the United States:[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HHS Leadership". HHS.gov. January 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "Records of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration [ADAMHA] (Record Group 511), 1929-93". National Archives. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Who We Are". SAMHSA. 4 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Rear Admiral Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H., United States Public Health Service: Deputy Administrator of SAMHSA". SAMHSA. 30 November 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.: Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; United States Department of Health and Human Services". SAMHSA. 30 November 2010. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Farewell from the SAMHSA Administrator". SAMHSA News. 12 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Joint Meeting of the SAMHSA National Advisory Council (NAC), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) NAC, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) NAC, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) NAC, SAMHSA Advisory Committee for Women's Services, and SAMHSA Tribal Technical Advisory Committee Public Agenda" (PDF). SAMHSA. 27 August 2015.
  8. ^ "PN608 — Elinore F. McCance-Katz — Department of Health and Human Services". Congress.gov. 3 August 2017.
  9. ^ "130 Stat. 1202" (PDF).
  10. ^ a b c "Offices and Centers". SAMHSA. 11 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Agency Overview". SAMHSA. 13 August 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Center for Mental Health Services". SAMHSA. 29 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Oral Fluid Guidelines" (PDF). Wednesday, March 4, 2020
  14. ^ Center for Substance Abuse Prevention official page at SAMHSA.gov
  15. ^ ADAMHA Reorganization Act Summary
  16. ^ Title 42, see §300x–32, p. 1117
  17. ^ a b Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at official SAMHSA web site
  18. ^ "Naomi Tomoyasu, Ph.D." www.samhsa.gov. June 3, 2022. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  19. ^ Samantha.Elliott (13 May 2013). "About Us". www.samhsa.gov.
  20. ^ Samantha.Elliott (8 November 2013). "Regional Administrators". www.samhsa.gov.


External links[edit]

Media related to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at Wikimedia Commons