State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Jeb Bush
Governor

Lucy D. Hadi
Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Brenda Brody
September 14, 2006 850-488-4855

FLORIDA RECEIVES $14 MILLION TO COMBAT
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG SENIORS

Florida among only four states to receive the funding

TALLAHASSEE - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded the state of Florida a five year grant totaling $14 million to be used in the state's Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) effort, a project designed to help older Floridians avoid alcohol and other drug abuse problems. Florida is one of only four states to receive the grant.

"This has been a very competitive grant and we are pleased to be able to begin to meet the emerging needs of older Floridians," said Department of Children and Families Secretary Lucy Hadi.

The SBIRT project will implement an intervention program for older adults at risk for substance abuse, create new partnerships with primary care service providers, and address current systemic and policy practices that create barriers for older adults in need of substance abuse treatment. An estimated 5,500 older Floridians will be served through SBIRT.

Florida ranks fourth in total population in the United States, and leads the nation in median age, with more than 3.5 million residents aged 60 and older.

"The rate of penetration for publicly-funded substance abuse services by older adults in this age group is less than 2 percent of all adults served each year," said Bill Janes, Executive Director of the Florida Office of Drug Control. "This funding will allow us to reach out to this underserved population and educate Florida's communities about this serious issue."

The use of illicit drugs among Baby Boomers aged 50 to 59 rose 63 percent between 2002 and 2005, according to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health released September 7. Because the oldest Baby Boomers will turn 60 this year, DCF officials are working now to develop effective ways to reach this population.

SBIRT funds also will enhance and expand an innovative evidence-based pilot project (Brief Intervention and Treatment for the Elders-BRITE project) currently providing outreach services in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Fort Lauderdale. SBIRT will allow Florida to double the number of BRITE sites to include Miami/Dade County, Charlotte County, the City of Jacksonville, and Palm Beach County.

In providing services in different health care settings, community-based providers will partner with primary care and emergency care physicians who come into regular contact with older adults at-risk or in need of substance abuse services. Older adults will be screened in "non-traditional" sites such as primary and emergency health care settings, public health clinics and senior nutrition programs.

The department's Substance Abuse Program has been highly successful in recent years in winning federal and foundation grant support for its substance abuse programs. Since 2003, eight grants totaling $49.3 million have been awarded to the Department of Children and Families, including the SBIRT grant.

For more information about the Florida Department of Children and Families visit www.myflorida.com/cf_web.

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