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A Tool for Assessing a Community’s Capacity for Substance Abuse Care
Filetype[PDF - 313.36 KB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    27657505
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5034557
  • Description:
    Evidence-based programs for prevention and intervention in substance abuse are increasing. Community needs assessments and health rankings provide descriptions of local behavioral health needs but do not provide public health practitioners and policy makers with guidelines on the number of programs, health care practitioners, or interventions needed in the local substance abuse care system. This article presents a new framework for measuring and assessing the substance abuse care system in a community. The assessment can inform resource allocation across the continuum of care to more equitably and efficiently distribute interventions and care. We conducted 2 literature reviews and synthesized our findings to create a community assessment methodology and needs calculator, CAST (calculating for an adequate system tool). We reviewed 212 articles to produce an inventory of community and social correlates of behavioral health, components of a substance abuse care system, and numerical values for guidelines for estimating community needs. CAST produces community-specific assessments of the capacity of the components of a community substance abuse care system. CAST generates recommendations by the application of social and community determinants of health as risk coefficients to each estimate of component need. CAST can assist public health practitioners in evaluation and improvement of the capacity of community-based, substance abuse care systems. By using recommendations for component needs across the continuum of care, community leaders can use CAST to prioritize resource allocation more effectively and efficiently.

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