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|One of the
agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), whose predecessor agency was the
Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA). SAMHSA’s mission is to
provide substance abuse prevention, addict treatment, and mental health services. Health
risk assessment (RA) activities in SAMHSA, through its Center for Mental Health Services
(formerly National Institute of Mental Health) extend from the routine collection of
statistics on the use of mental health services to laboratory studies of biochemical and
physiological risk factors.
SAMHSA’s two other centers, the Centers for Substance Abuse Prevention and for Substance Abuse Treatment (formerly via National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and on Drug Abuse, which are now part of the National Institutes of Health), conduct RA through clinical, experimental, and epidemiologic studies aimed at improving knowledge of the effects and etiology of alcoholism and alcohol-related illness. These two centers also monitor clinical reports of drug abuse, conduct basic science investigations of the abuse potential of psychotherapeutic and psychoactive drugs, and determine the prevalence of drug abuse within the U.S. population.
Some of the case studies that highlight the RA activities conducted within SAMHSA (more under ADAMHA) include: inborn schizophrenia; treatment of mood disorders with lithium; fetal alcohol syndrome; the misuse of phencyclidine; and the abuse of marijuana (U.S. DHHS, 1986).