The DSHS Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery provides funding and oversight for prevention services statewide.
How does substance abuse affect families and communities?
In their Strategic Plan, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that by 2020 substance use and mental health (behavioral health) disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide.
Substance abuse often begins in adolescence, and impacts all of us. Underage drinking contributes to the deaths of about 5,000 young people each year, limits the potential of many others, disrupts families and communities, and costs our society nearly $27 billion each year. Children and teens who use alcohol and other drugs are more likely to drop out of school, be seriously or fatally injured, and have thoughts of suicide.
The good news is that like most health conditions, these disorders can be prevented and treated. Keeping children and teens healthy and safe, and reducing the costs of substance abuse to communities, are our highest priorities.
What are DBHR's prevention goals?
DBHR's prevention and intervention goals are to delay and prevent the misuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, reduce the negative consequences of drug misuse; and prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug dependency. The services we fund are data-driven, prioritized based on our state's Strategic Plan, and delivered in collaboration with community prevention coalitions, counties, tribes, statewide organizations and state and federal agencies.
Our investments have cut underage drinking in half, reduced other unhealthy behaviors, increased academic success for students, and saved public costs. Our long-term vision is that proven prevention practices will be adequately funded in every community in Washington.
What can parents, grandparents, educators and others do to encourage youth to make healthy choices?
Parents and other concerned adults can learn about how alcohol and other drugs can harm young people, and get prevention tips at www.StartTalkingNow.org. Educators and health professionals can also find resources at www.TheAthenaForum.org.
What programs does DBHR fund?
DBHR funds, manages and/or coordinates the following services with resources from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. You can also find more information in our Washington Partners for Healthy Communities brochure.