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Patrick-Murray Administration Releases Updated Strategic Plan To Address Substance Abuse In The Commonwealth

Press Release

Location: Beverly, MA

As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's efforts to address substance abuse in the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray announced the release of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Substance Abuse Strategic Plan Update today at the Governor's Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention (ICSAP) meeting held at the Northshore Recovery High School in Beverly.

Over the last five years, the state has been implementing the 2005 Substance Abuse Strategic Plan. Recognizing changes in the health care, fiscal and policy environments, the Governor's ICSAP took the initiative to lead a series of sessions between February 2009 and January 2010, which has helped to develop this Updated Plan. Attendees included stakeholders from across the state, representing a wide variety of substance use and addictions provider organizations, state agencies, advocates and researchers, as well as stakeholders from the criminal justice system. Additionally, the Governor's ICSAP and the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) within the Department of Public Health (DPH) met several times to identify needs and potential responses.

"Thanks to the leadership of Lt. Governor Murray and the work of the Council and our partners, this updated plan will serve as a roadmap for combating substance abuse across the Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in preventing substance use and addictions, but there is more work that can be done to support this community. This new plan will do just that."

"The Updated Plan reflects a great partnership developed between state agencies and critical stakeholders to not only improve treatment services, but to also prevent substance abuse and addiction in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, chair of the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention. "The Council looks forward addressing the focus areas outlined in the Plan and developing implementation strategies that will build on the state's ongoing efforts."

The Updated Plan suggests eight focus areas to help guide the Commonwealth in its effort to address inappropriate abuse, use, or addiction. The focus areas include: 1) Maximizing interagency collaboration; 2) Identifying and addressing disparities throughout the service system; 3) Increasing the capacity of communities and other service systems to prevent substance use and addictions while strengthening linkages to needed services; 4) Improving access to substance use and addictions screening and services; 5) Strengthening the array of recovery oriented services; 6) Improving the performance of all components of the substance use and addictions system; 7) Strengthening the substance use and addictions workforce and enhancing organizational development; and 8) Strengthening collaborations and increasing the integration and availability of substance use and addiction services throughout the criminal justice system.

The 2005 Massachusetts Substance Abuse Strategic Plan has helped guide the Commonwealth's efforts to address substance abuse.Through the leadership of the Governor's ICSAP and DPH, recommendations included in the 2005 plan have been applied over the last five years. Among the recommendations, Massachusetts has established the ICSAP, and continues to enhance prevention, enforcement, and intervention, expand screening, assessment, and referral; support comprehensive services for adolescents and adults; ensure that services are effective, efficient, well managed and promote recovery; and reduce the high cost of incarceration and recidivism on both the criminal justice and treatment systems by promoting recovery and returning people to productive lives.

Governor Patrick re-established the Interagency Council for Substance Abuse and Prevention by Executive Order #496 on January 11, 2008. The mission of the Council is to maximize coordination between the Department of Public Health and a number of other state agencies that have programs or departments that deal with the issue of substance abuse and/or prevention. DPH and ICSAP establish standards for the operation of substance abuse prevention and treatment services. In addition to focusing on the Updated Strategic Plan, ICSAP is working on ensuring the success of the state's three recovery high schools, reducing the rate of drug overdoses and curbing underage drinking.

"The Commonwealth has made unbelievable progress since the original plan was issued five years ago," said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach. "This new plan reaffirms our commitment on a state and local level to deal with both preventing and treating the devastating effects substance abuse can have on Massachusetts families."

To learn more about the Council or to review the Updated Plan, please visit:

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