Improving the detection of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and depression in community health centers

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2003 Aug;14(3):386-402. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2010.0658.


Up to 35 percent of primary care patients suffer from substance abuse or mental disorders, and most of these patients receive care from general medical professionals rather than mental health specialists. Accumulating evidence suggests that primary care physicians often fail to recognize, diagnose, and treat their patients with mental and substance use disorders; only about 5 percent of primary care visits result in a mental or substance use diagnosis. The goals of this project were to evaluate the feasibility of screening for drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and major depression at two federally funded urban Community/Migrant Health Centers (C/MHCs), in Newark, New Jersey, and Bronx, New York, and to examine the effects of a clinical tool designed to guide primary care clinicians in the identification and treatment of substance use and depression, assess provider perceptions of the screening form, and determine the concordance between provider and patient reports of assessment and management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Centers / standards*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Jersey
  • New York City
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / standards*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Urban Health