Dual Disorders Demonstration Program

Portland, Maine, treatment program for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse

    • July 29, 2014

Dates of Project: January 1993 through December 1996

Description: The State of Main Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation created an enhanced services system to provide treatment for people in the Portland, Maine, area with dual disorders of mental illness and substance abuse. The program was overseen by the Cumberland County Dual Diagnosis Collaborative —a group representing 22 mental health and substance abuse administrators and clinicians, hospital staff, consumers, families, researchers, and government officials—oversaw the effort, which included the development of enhanced services (e.g., housing, crisis management, self-help groups) and an evaluation led by the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Key Results

  • Key accomplishments of the project include:

    • Developing a multidisciplinary team—called the ACCESS team—to provide integrated services and treatment to people with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse disorders
    • Recruiting and assigning 105 people to one of two treatments: (1) ACCESS, a continuous treatment team model, or (2) enhanced community care services provided through the coordination of community-based agencies
    • Providing enhanced services for the more than 50 participants randomly assigned to the ACCESS program
    • Conducting a process evaluation which concluded that “the collaborative is having an important impact on the capacity of mental health, substance abuse, and other community agencies to serve people with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.”