The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) characterizes underserved, vulnerable, and special needs populations as communities that include members of minority populations or individuals who have experienced health disparities.

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According to the Surgeon General 2019 Report:

  • Effective community-based evidence-based treatment programs can reduce substance misuse. Research shows that for each dollar invested in evidence- based prevention programs, up to $10 is saved in treatment for alcohol or other substance misuse–related costs.

  • Community coalitions, composed of individuals and organizations from multiple sectors of society engaged in substance misuse issues, have been effective in getting people into treatment by conducting outreach to connect them to appropriate evidence-based and best practice tools, training and resources.

  • Many local communities’ educational campaigns target the general public to improve understanding about substance use problems, increase knowledge of community health and safety risks, and promote access to available evidence-based resources..

In local communities, evidence-based resources are not without their challenges: - (NCMJ)

  • The need for broad support and knowledge among a range of stakeholders in the community

  • The ability to provide for ongoing, continuous education and awareness, in order to deal with changing leadership and personnel

  • Lack of knowledge about the various evidence-based practices, and the potential “fit” of these practices with the local community’s needs and resources

  • Capacity to implement evidence-based practices within the local provider community

  • Resistance to shifting from treatment-as-usual to an evidence-based practice

  • Funding streams that may not be structured to encourage or support evidence-based practices

  • The need for policy development that ensures the preferred utilization of evidence based practices