Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Epidemiology and the SPF

SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) follows an outcomes-based prevention model, which begins with assessment of negative consequences or outcomes that result from substance abuse:

Outcomes-Based Prevention Model

Using epidemiology to understanding the nature and extent of substance abuse and related behavioral health problems and consequences (i.e. outcomes) is a critical first step to ensuring the success of prevention policies and programs. However, using epidemiological data is essential throughout the SPF process—for prioritization, implementation, and evaluation. Some epidemiological tasks include the following:

  1. Assessment: Epidemiologists collect and analyze epidemiological data related to substance-related consumption patterns and consequences and then interpret and present them in an epidemiological profile
  2. Capacity-Building: Planners use epidemiological data to mobilize key stakeholders and enhance State and community resources and capacity to address prevention priorities
  3. Planning: Epidemiological data detail key substance abuse and behavioral health problems, including their impact on specific target populations and geographic areas, and help to guide decisions about prevention priorities and allocation of prevention funds
  4. Implementation: Decision-makers at the State and community levels use epidemiological data to determine strategies that effectively address identified priority problems and target populations
  5. Evaluation: Ongoing data collection and analysis help to understand changes over time in behavioral health problems and patterns of consumption and support ongoing decision-making about prevention priorities and resource allocation