City of

Federal Legislative Agenda 2017

Fund Substance Abuse and Mental Health Programs

Situation Assessment

Laredo and other US/Mexico border communities face serious behavioral health, substance abuse and co-morbidity challenges that merit behavioral health screening, treatment and preventive care and as well rehabilitation. This is in addition to in-bed care. Infectious and chronic disease (especially diabetes) co-morbidities (HIV, STD, Cancer), women’s health disparities, insufficient access to health care, insufficient behavioral health care professionals, and lack of facilities accentuate the problem.



As our population ages, the level of wellness in the community and lack to care and to early and preventive care poses a challenge requiring more and integrated behavioral health services. In addition, counseling services, psychosocial assessment, and chronic disease prevention are needed. More teen pregnancies and teen challenges in schools to prevent suicide and bulling are other critical needs. Yet, we are underserved for specialty providers and trained health support staff. On the United States/Mexico Border, issues are compounded by socio-economic conditions and lack to early preventive and primary care as well limited behavioral health services. With the growing stress and substance abuse crisis among families and communities and the increase of co-morbidities (recreational and illegal drug use, Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Teen Age pregnancy, domestic violence and diabetes to mention a few), both acute and preventive behavioral health and substance abuse care is needed in the outpatient and institutional care setting.


Specific behavioral health and substance abuse screening and other services essential for Laredo and other US/Mexico border communities are: 1.) behavioral health care both preventive and treatment, 2.) current adolescent health care especially for sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, HIV, violence and substance abuse, 3.) women’s health and domestic violence but as well wellness especially against obesity and diabetes, 4.) substance abuse especially for men and adolescents in particular with the current epidemic of Hepatitis B and C, HIV and violence. Finally, there are insufficient care facilities for both acute and long term care but more importantly preventive care and screening services that also need major support.



1.  Integrate and collocate behavioral health and substance abuse screening, counseling, treatment and prevention services
     into routine primary care services along with Disease Self Management (DSM) such as the Healthy Living/Viviendo Mejor
     model from Laredo.

2. Support pilot projects on the US/Mexico Border (Laredo) to fully integrate behavioral health and substance abuse services
     within public health and primary care wellness services (including using telemedicine).

3. Provide additional resources for prevention and outreach as well acute care treatment.

4. Provide additional support for youth prevention and intervention services.


Target Agencies

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
United States Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

US/Mexico Border Health Commission

National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse



Dr. Hector Gonzalez 
Health Department Director
2600 Cedar Avenue

Laredo, Texas 78040

Phone:  (956) 795-4900

Fax: (956) 726-2632