OKLAHOMA CITY (March 30, 2018) -- The TSET Board of Directors on Thursday approved a grant with the state’s behavioral health system to reduce tobacco use and improve the overall health of Oklahomans seeking treatment for substance abuse.
The TSET Board of Directors approved a 3-year grant for up to $1.2 million to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to continue work to reduce tobacco use and improve health among the Oklahomans they serve. TSET’s funds also help leverage additional Medicaid dollars to the state to address behavioral health and addiction needs.
“This innovative partnership allows us to address critical mental health issues, while also reducing tobacco use among people with a mental health or substance abuse disorder,” said TSET Executive Director John Woods. “We know the tobacco industry long perpetrated the myth that tobacco use helps reduce stress, or help some cope with a mental health issue or addiction --- when it’s just the opposite.”
People diagnosed with a serious mental illness have an increased risk of chronic medical conditions and on average die an average of 25 years earlier than others, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Rates of smoking are up to four times higher among people with a mental health or substance abuse disorder. Research also shows that people with a substance abuse disorder are more successful in recovering when they stop using tobacco.
TSET and ODMHSAS have partnered since 2009 to make changes within the state’s mental health system to promote tobacco-free substance abuse treatment programs and incorporate overall health and wellness for consumers and staff at behavioral health facilities. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that has smoking-cessation and tobacco-free policies at all of its mental health treatment facilities.
“This partnership benefits not only Oklahomans who seek mental health services, but the staff, providers and the families who benefit when their loved one lives a longer, healthier life,” Woods said. “As a state, we all benefit when there are fewer people using tobacco and making healthier choices.”
To date, more than 30,000 referrals to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline have been made through TSET’s work with the ODMHSAS. The department partnered with the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, also a TSET grant recipient, to develop a web-based portal to increase referrals to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, a free 24/7 service that offers tobacco cessation coaching, patches, gum or lozenges for registered participants.
With TSET funding, the ODMHSAS has also been working on a pilot project where individuals, upon discharge from a residential substance abuse treatment facility, are referred to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline and given two weeks of nicotine replacement therapy until their supply arrives from the Helpline. Referrals increased 750 percent in the first year and enrollments increased from less than 20 to over 200 in one year. For the next grant cycle, the grant will work to expand the program to include crisis centers where individuals stay for up to 120 hours and are required to be tobacco-free.
Over the next three years, the ODMHSAS grant will work to increase referrals made to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline and offer additional nicotine replacement therapy to Oklahomans seeking services at community-based mental health centers or crisis centers and hospitals, and continue to certify wellness coaches within the mental health system.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Julie Bisbee, firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. TSET. Better Lives Through Better Health.