Case study: Creating a Comprehensive Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Plan for a Regional State Agency
Edward Stephenson
Edward Stephenson

The state agency responsible for providing public mental health and substance abuse services to indigent clients in South Florida.


The agency was required under Florida Statutes (F.S. Chapter 394, Part IV) the District Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health (ADM) Planning Council prepare an ADM Plan. However previous plans were neither realistic nor comprehensive in scope of services and were designed just to meet the bare minimum requirements of the law. New and existing service providers had inadequate guidelines to follow in designing new programs or expanding existing ones based on the service gaps of their target populations.

The new approach not only took into consideration of meeting the legal obligations but to create a practical document that provided a detailed gap analysis, SWOT analysis of the at risk populations so that anyone who wanted to develop programs and services or conduct research would have an invaluable tool at their disposal.



The steps taken included a review and analysis of:

  • The agency’s Mission Statement
  • Statuary requirements
  • Organizational policies and procedures
  • Demographic description of the target population
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues
  • Description of Mental Health and Substance Abuse programs and services
  • System infrastructure
  • Service gap analysis
  • Service deficiency plans

Community participation in determining service gaps and keeping abreast of current mental health and substance abuse issues were solicited by representatives from at risk groups and from service providers through scheduled public hearings.



A six-year Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Plan for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services was developed and resulted in $70 million funding for mental health and substance abuse services.