Mental and Behavioral Health

Contact Us

(202) 885-2875

Fax: (202) 885-2885

justice@american.edu

Justice Programs Office 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 508 Washington, DC 20016-8159 United States

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Mental and Behavioral Health Substance Use Disorders

There is a significant intersection between substance-using behavior and the justice system. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has reported that more than half of all people incarcerated have a mental health illness, six in 10 have a substance use disorder (SUD), and more than one-third meet the criteria for having both mental health illnesses and SUDs. 

SUDs are complex and often require comprehensive treatment approaches. Due to the interconnected nature of SUDs, mental health issues, and criminal justice contact, JPO believes that treatment services must be prioritized within justice reform. 

We subscribe to the biopsychosocial model of addiction, which takes biological, psychological, and social elements into account and promotes the use of individualized interventions. We encourage criminal justice organizations to think about reform from a multi-dimensional perspective and involve treatment providers in their criminal justice efforts. It is imperative for practitioner-researcher partnerships to facilitate the interdisciplinary study of SUDs among justice populations and use the results of rigorous research to advance the justice system.