SOURCE: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

October 04, 2007 12:42 ET

CASA* Receives $3 Million Dollar NIDA Grant to Launch New Treatment Management System With New York State Substance Abuse Office

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 4, 2007) - The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) have joined forces to create CASACCARE -- Chronic Care Approaches to Recovery, a new approach to better help individuals struggling with the chronic disease of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and to save taxpayers money.

Using a $3 million federal grant, awarded to CASA by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the CASACCARE program will work with OASAS to introduce in New York State's Albany and Nassau counties chronic disease management for alcohol and drug addiction and will evaluate the program's cost effectiveness.

The goal of the CASACCARE program is to treat substance abuse and addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease -- like asthma or hypertension -- with care provided for patients on a continuing basis, instead of stigmatizing the disease and treating it as an acute illness that receives medical attention only when symptoms are at their worst.

"The concept of disease management is increasingly being used to treat other chronic medical illnesses, but has not been applied to addiction," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. "CASACCARE's chronic disease management philosophy is about keeping patients connected to the level of care they need. Even if they relapse, the chronic disease management approach is to get them re-connected to care, in the same way that a diabetic with high sugar levels would go back to his or her doctor to fine tune the treatment plan."

The CASA grant is one of the first issued under NIDA's Mechanism for Time Sensitive Research Opportunities, and piggybacks on the work of the New York State's Managed Addiction Treatment Services (MATS) program. MATS was started by OASAS to assure access and enhance cost-effectiveness for needed treatment, rehabilitation and other social services to high-cost clients. MATS was created to provide better care to patients with chronic illnesses.

"We look forward to working with CASA on the CASACCARE program. As our state is a leader in prevention, treatment and recovery, we must ensure that the 1.8 million New Yorkers in need of our services receive the appropriate level of care," said Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo, commissioner of the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. "While many states may begin to use case management strategies to control substance abuse treatment costs, this project is unique because it also builds in a rigorous evaluation and the continuous repetitive care strategy which should give us the positive treatment outcomes."

"If the results are positive, this will be a new model for how to treat substance abuse," said Jon Morgenstern, PhD., CASA's vice president and Director of Health and Treatment Research and Analysis and professor and director of Substance Abuse Services, Department of Psychiatry, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Over the next five years CASA will provide training in chronic care models and continuous quality improvement in the two trial counties. CASA researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of the disease management program in stabilizing individuals' lives as well as saving taxpayer dollars.

"This is the first time anyone is doing something like this with alcohol and drug abuse and addiction," said Califano. "We are delighted to work with Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo who is committed to cost effective treatment for substance abuse and addiction. We believe if you manage this disease in the same way we manage other chronic illnesses, patients can maintain sobriety and save some state health care dollars."

CASA is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA has issued 64 reports and white papers, published one book, conducted demonstration projects focused on children, families and schools at 201 sites in 76 cities and counties in 30 states plus Washington, DC and two Native American tribal reservations, and has been evaluating the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, in a variety of programs and drug courts. CASA is the creator of the nationwide initiative Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ -- the fourth Monday in September -- the 24th in 2007 -- that promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children's risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. For more information visit www.casacolumbia.org.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services oversees the nation's largest system of care for addiction services. Its mission is to improve the lives of all New Yorkers through leading a premier system of addiction prevention, treatment and recovery. It operates 13 state addiction treatment centers and funds or certifies more than 1,400 prevention and treatment providers statewide which treat 110,000 people for alcoholism, chemical dependency and problem gambling on any given day. OASAS also provides credentials for more than 6,000 prevention and treatment professionals. For more information, visit www.OASAS.state.ny.us.


*The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is neither affiliated with, nor sponsored by, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (also known as "CASA") or any of its member organizations, or any other organizations with the name of "CASA."

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