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State Agency Policy and Program Coordination in Response to the Co-Occurrence of HIV, Chemical Dependency, and Mental Illness
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Objective. This study sought to establish a conservative and initial understanding of state HIV, substance abuse, and mental health agency coordination of policy and program in response to the co-occurrence of HIV, chemical dependency, and mental illness.

Method. Estimation of coordination was accomplished through the comparison of three surveys conducted among state substance abuse directors (1998), state AIDS directors (1999), and state mental health directors (2000). Data from 38 states were reviewed.

Results. The most frequently reported state agency activities included coordinating funding, engaging in integrative planning activities, and conducting staff cross-training. When compared for association with state characteristics, coordination among state agencies was found to be associated with Early Intervention Services (EIS) designation, higher rates of AIDS generally, higher rates of AIDS among African Americans, and higher rates of AIDS among Hispanic populations. Given the limitations of comparing three disparate surveys, we determined the estimate of interagency coordination to be conservative and preliminary.

Conclusion. While this study was useful as an initial step toward identifying state interagency policy and program coordination in response to the co-occurrence of HIV, chemical dependency, and mental illness, there were methodological challenges that should be addressed in future studies of state agency coordination. Several recommendations were advanced. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services