SAMHSA Funds Substance Abuse Center in Baghdad

The $770,000 grant to UCLA actually comes from the State Department under an interagency agreement. The center will be established at the Medical City Complex.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, has awarded the University of California Los Angeles a $770,000 grant to support efforts to develop substance abuse services in Iraq. The funds are provided by State under an interagency agreement with SAMHSA to support the Iraqi Demand Reduction initiative.

SAMHSA's Oct. 4 announcement said UCLA will use the money to help the Iraqi Ministry of Health establish a Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Services at Baghdad's Medical City Complex. At the center, a core group of Iraqi medical professionals will be trained on service system development and the latest strategies in substance abuse treatment, including the screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) approach and medication-assisted therapy.

Along with UCLA's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, the project's subcontracted organizations include Cairo University, SKOUN Lebanese Addictions Center, and Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. Their trainees will disseminate the clinical and research expertise into substance use disorder service systems throughout Iraq.

Educational materials and training services "will be congruent with Iraqi culture, and cultural sensitivity will be maintained to enhance implementation of clinical expertise throughout the course of the project," according to UCLA, which said a Community Epidemiology Workgroup will be established to monitor drug trends in Iraq.

"This is an exciting, innovative international collaboration that holds tremendous promise for the people of Iraq and the behavioral health field," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "The Iraqi people will benefit from a system in place that saves lives from the ravages of addiction, and the U.S. behavioral health field will benefit from the lessons learned in creating a new integrated behavioral health system."

Information about UCLA's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs is available at http://uclaisap.org/.

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