Principles of Care and Practice Guidance

The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services actively promotes practice improvement in prevention, treatment and recovery systems of care. To that end, BSAS has articulated a set of principles which inform practice. BSAS publishes Practice Guidance papers, built on these principles, which describe best practices as well as why and how practice in specific areas can be improved. These are intended to be used by BSAS substance abuse service providers in assessing and improving programs and services, and by consumers in understanding what best practice should look like. Each guidance contains summaries, with embedded links, of research and resources, as well as a link to provide feedback to BSAS.

Strategic Plan: Principles of Care and Practice Guidance pdf format of Strategic Plan: Principles of Care & Practice Guidance
rtf format of Strategic Plan: Principles of Care & Practice Guidance
The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services’ Strategic Plan describes BSAS’s authority and its purpose in articulating Principles of Care and Practice Guidance papers.  The Plan also describes the process by which Practice Guidance papers are developed and issued, including the mechanism for providing feedback to BSAS.

Principles of Care

Principles of Care in Prevention, Treatment and Recovery pdf format of Principles of Care in Prevention, Treatment & Recovery
rtf format of Principles of Care in Prevention, Treatment & Recovery
The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services Principles of Care are built on its Mission Statement and on national standards of care.  The Principles are intended as foundation reference points in program and service design and implementation.

Practice Guidance Modules

  Serving LGBTQ Youth and Young Adults and Their Families pdf format of Serving LGBTQ Youth and Young Adults and Their Families
file size 1MB docx format of Serving LGBTQ Youth and Young Adults and Their Families
Youth and young adults, a priority for the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, are a population at high risk for substance related disorders. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning youth and young adults face exacerbated risks arising from harrassment, threats, violence and rejection. BSAS is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ youth and young adults, and their families, have equal access to quality services. This Practice Guidance describes the risks this population face, and best practices in engaging these youth and young adults, and their families.

Integrating Opioid Overdose Prevention Strategies into Treatment pdf format of Integrating Opioid Overdose Prevention Strategies into 
rtf format of Integrating Opioid Overdose Prevention Strategies into
Preventing opioid overdose is a priority for the Bureau, and addressing opioid overdose prevention in treatment can reduce risk and increase safety.  This Practice Guidance describes the growing incidence of opioid overdose and provides information and resources for organizational readiness and staff training as well as for ensuring that overdose prevention, recognition and response are included in all stages of treatment.

Integrating Medication in Behavioral Treatment pdf format of Integrating Medication in Behavioral Treatment
rtf format of Integrating Medication in Behavioral Treatment
Each person’s individual health is affected upon their life experiences and environment. The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services believes that treatment should respond to this complexity by treating the whole person. This practice guidance supports capacity of behavioral treatment providers to understand and integrate properly prescribed medication as effective components of treatment plans.

Drug Screening as a Treatment Tool pdf format of Drug Screening as a Treatment Tool
rtf format of Drug Screening as a Treatment Tool
This Practice Guidance explores use of drug screening in substance abuse treatment, with particular attention to evidence of effectiveness and to tailoring care to the needs of the individual. It includes summaries of current research as well as guidance focused on ensuring that drug screening supports engagement in treatment and recovery.

Partnerships with DCF pdf format of Partnerships with DCF
rtf format of Partnerships with DCF
Cooperation among providers, a priority for the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, is critical when substance abuse undermines parents’ ability to care for their children.  This guidance describes actions providers, staff, and DCF can take to build and maintain productive partnerships to promote family recovery and child safety.

Pregnancy and Medication-Assisted Treatment – Information and Support for Pregnant Women in Recovery pdf format of Pregnancy and Medication-Assisted Treatment – Informati
rtf format of Pregnancy and Medication-Assisted Treatment – Informati
Spanish Version of the Pregnancy and Medication-Assisted Treatment pdf format of Spanish Version of the Pregnancy and Med
doc format of Spanish Version of the Pregnancy and Med

Making Treatment Culturally Competent  pdf format of Making Treatment Culturally Competent 
docx format of Making Treatment Culturally Competent
This Practice Guidance describes how to integrate cultural competence into substance abuse treatment. Cultural competence reduces disparities, supports best practices and improves outcomes. It is critical to ensuring equitable access to and engagement in treatment and recovery – a fundamental BSAS Principle of Care.

Treatment Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Adults pdf format of Treatment Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgen
rtf format of Treatment Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgen
The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services is committed to providing access to quality treatment for all those with substance use disorders. This should not vary due to an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation. This module describes the range of treatment considerations, and best practices in treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer adults.

Treatment Services for Older Adults pdf format of Treatment Services for Older Adults
rtf format of Treatment Services for Older Adults
The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services is committed to promoting excellent, effective treatment across the life span. This practice guidance helps to create an outline of how best to provide treatment for older adults.

Engaging Veterans in Treatment  pdf format of Engaging Veterans in Treatment 
doc format of Engaging Veterans in Treatment
This Practice Guidance highlights the importance of understanding the experiences, strengths and needs of those who have served in the U.S. Military, in order for treatment providers to more effectively engage these men and women in treatment, and support recovery for them and for their families.

Treatment Services for Pregnant Women pdf format of Treatment Services for Pregnant Women
rtf format of Treatment Services for Pregnant Women
Pregnant substance using women are a priority population for the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.  This guidance describes the needs and vulnerabilities of pregnant women, as well as administrative actions and clinical expertise needed to successfully engage and treat pregnant women, and their families.  A broad array of resources are listed, with web links.

Access for Persons with Disabilities pdf format of cAccess for Persons with Disabilities
rtf format of Access for Persons with Disabilities
The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services is committed to ensuring access to and participation in substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery for persons with disabilities. This Practice Guidance: describes the key role of the Access Coordinator in achieving these goals in treatment programs; includes a summary of research and best practices; and contains links to a broad array of useful resources. 

Responding to Relapse pdf format of Responding to Relapse
rtf format of Responding to Relapse
BSAS supports efforts to respond to relapse in ways that support continued participation in treatment.  This module describes practices that aim to keep individuals engaged in treatment while they work toward abstinence and recovery.

Treatment Services For Youth and Their Families pdf format of Treatment Services For Youth and Their Families
rtf format of Treatment Services For Youth and Their Families
The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services is committed to building a comprehensive and effective system of care for youth and their families. This practice guidance helps to create an outline of how best to respond to specific issues effecting youth and their families.


This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.