Policy Brief Highlights Disasters and Substance Use – Implications for Changes to the Federal Robert T. Stafford Act (Updated)

Today, NASADAD is pleased to release an updated policy brief that examines the impact of disasters on substance use programs and services, highlighting the benefit of changes to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP). The brief, titled “Disasters and Substance Use: Implications for Changes to the Federal Robert T. Stafford Act,” provides key insights into the challenges faced by substance use programs in the aftermath of disasters and opportunities for legislative action.

The brief cites studies showing that traumatic events can lead to an increase in substance use and place a strain on existing services. For example, the terrorist attacks of September 11th increased the intensity and need for substance use prevention and treatment services in New York State. The brief emphasizes the importance of coordination with State alcohol and drug agencies to ensure a comprehensive and effective response during disasters.

One of the key recommendations NASADAD offers in the brief is to amend Section 416 of the Robert T. Stafford Act to explicitly include substance use disorders in the portion of the statute that governs the CCP. The proposed legislation, known as the Addressing Addiction After Disasters Act (H.R. 5623 or the AAAD Act), aims to ensure that individuals struggling with substance use disorders receive the support they need in the aftermath of disasters. The legislation is led by Representatives Becca Balint (D-VT-at large), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Jill Tokuda (D-HI). The AAAD Act would help bolster intentional awareness, planning, and action regarding issues specific to substance use disorders within the confines of the short-term approach of the CCP.


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