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Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorders History

Dual Diagnosis Task Force

In the Fiscal Year 1995-96 budget, the Governor recognized that 60 percent of persons who have serious mental illness also have a substance abuse problem. Profiles of consumers with dual, or co-occurring, disorders of mental illness and alcohol/substance abuse and/or dependence demonstrate that they require combined and simultaneous services. In a joint effort on behalf of patients with co-occurring disorders, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) and the Department of Mental Health (DMH) convened a Dual Diagnosis Task Force comprised of county mental health and substance abuse officials, consumers, and professionals from both departments to act as an advisory panel.

Department of Mental Health - Visit related Dual Diagnosis pages on the Department of Mental Health's website.

Beginning in Fiscal Year 1996-97, in an effort designed to demonstrate the efficacy of combined and simultaneous mental health and substance abuse treatment, ADP and DMH funded four dual diagnosis demonstration projects for persons with co-occurring disorders. The dual diagnosis demonstration projects began in 1997 and were state-funded for four years. The counties of Contra Costa, Merced, San Diego, and Santa Cruz participated and treated the target population of individuals with both a severe mental illness and a substance use disorder.

The results of these projects can be read in the full text of the Final Report of the Dual Diagnosis Demonstration Projects (PDF). The first page of the report contains an Executive Summary of the findings and articulates the strengths and areas for improvement in the provision of combined and simultaneous services to this target population.

Having met its goals, the Dual Diagnosis Task Force ended in 2002.

Co-Occurring Disorders Workgroup

The Co-Occurring Disorders Workgroup convened in October 2002

In order to establish appropriate relationships and improve collaboration between systems designed to address the needs of individuals with co-occurring disorders, the Directors of ADP and DMH charged the group to:

  • Identify best/most promising practices from the pilot projects and other sources for broader dissemination.
  • Identify funding alternatives for extending best practices.
  • Propose developing partnerships in order to promote coordinated services at the local level; and
  • Propose training and technical assistance mechanism to support local community capacity building.

The Co-Occurring Disorders Workgroup continued to meet through 2003. On March 2, 2004, they issued their Final Report (PDF). The effort to improve COD treatment in California continues through the ADP, the Department of Mental Health, and the Co-Occurring Joint Action Council’s (COJAC) collaborative efforts. The COJAC is comprised of public and private stakeholders and serves to advise the two Department Directors. For further information go to the COJAC website.