Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Behavioral Health Services: Medicine Education Program

The Medicine Education Program helps older adults understand medication risks and develop the confidence and skills required to work with their doctors to plan appropriate medication use. This accredited drug misuse prevention program for adults aged 55 and older includes both environmental and individual-level components. The environmental component comprises delivery of substance misuse and abuse prevention services through Los Angeles County’s local aging services provider network. The individual-level component includes delivery of educational opportunities for older adults to increase their knowledge of, and attitudes, skills, and self-efficacy related to, the appropriate and safe use of medications, as well as in-service professional and caregiver training sessions to assist service providers in identifying and preventing potential drug misuse or abuse and resulting problems.

The program consists of eight classes, (two four-class series), conducted at collaborating senior centers, retirement, and federally-funded housing facilities, as well as other sites where seniors gather. The first series, Take Charge of Your Health, focuses on preventing prescription drug misuse and communicating with health care providers. The second series, Be Health Wise, focuses on health promotion, with an emphasis on developing and maintaining behaviors that reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions that must be managed with medication.

To reach Latino older adults, the program trains community volunteers (promotores de salud) to provide information in Spanish on healthy aging, hypertension, diabetes, and medication management, as well as health screenings and appropriate referrals to local health resources.

With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-based Interventions, the program will implement an experimental research design, randomly assigning participants to intervention and control groups, to measure the effectiveness of its two series. Program staff will identify a local evaluator to assist in developing, field-testing, and implementing a data collection system that includes specific instruments to assess and measure change produced by the program components.


Henry van Oudheusden
Behavioral Health Services, Inc.
15519 Crenshaw Boulevard
Gardena, California 90249
Phone: (310) 679-9126