Current Issues in Addiction, Substance-related and Co-occurring Conditions


Consultation & Training Services

Over the years, Mark Stanford, PhD and his associates have worked with many public and private behavioral health systems and their workforce to help improve services for patients with addiction, substance-related and co-occurring conditions. In today’s standard of care and best practices model, it takes a well-equipped, professional treatment program to properly diagnose and treat co-occurring disorders. A well trained staff in a program with a culture of co-occurring capability or competency is a best practices standard.

With over 35 years of experience providing direct services in client care, outcomes-based services, executive level administration and system infrastructure upgrades, Synergia Consulting Group provides invaluable assistance that will optimize service outcomes through quality care standards at every level of the organization.

Behavioral Health

Behavioral health is the scientific and research-driven study of the interrelationship between emotions, behaviors and biology relating to a person’s mental health and overall well-being. A person struggling with behavioral health issues may be experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief/bereavement, substance use, learning disabilities or ADHD, mood disorders, and other psychological distress. In a whole person care manner, the care team needs to be as comprehensive as possible to treat the whole person and not just the diagnosis.

Integrated Care

Integrated treatment for comorbidity has been found to be consistently superior compared to treatment of individual disorders with separate treatment plans (Kelly T, Daley D. 2013). People with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders experience poor outcomes and incur high costs in multiple domains (Minkoff, Covell. 2021). In the past decade or so, efforts to develop and embrace evidence-based integrated services for people with co-occurring disorders began to largely focus on integrating primary health care. However, because of several recent trends, including the COVID 19 pandemic, a revitalized effort for an integrated approach for persons struggling with mental and substance use disorders, as well as the treatment systems that care for them is the renewed focus of great importance now.

Some of the important elements for success in the development of a co-occurring capable program include: Creating a working vision for treating persons with addiction, substance-related and co-occurring conditions; developing a consistent method of quality improvement activities to support routine process and outcomes measurement capable care for people with co-occurring disorders; developing or revising an articulate standard of care policy guidance to manage program operations; and identifying appropriate benchmark success indicators for an outcomes measurement system and ongoing evaluation and continuous quality improvement.

What Synergia Consulting Group Provides

Synergia Consulting Group offers trainings and program consultations on a variety of topics in behavioral health and treatment. These often include: enhancing quality improvement systems; designing patient-centered feedback informed care; integrating the ASAM Criteria into the program infrastructure; developing a co-occurring capable program; current issues in addiction science, counseling treatment strategies, and many other topics. In addition, we also provide the following:
• Training and technical assistance
• Continued implementation practice support
• Skills development and core competencies building
• Case presentation format for clinical skills development
• Core competencies in integrated care management
• Program infrastructure enhancements for routine implementation of integrated skills


"Mark Stanford, Ph.D. has the length, breadth and depth of experience in addiction, mental and general health settings that explain why his training and consultation is so grounded and effective. Mark's personal and interpersonal style is such that when he trains and consults, his work is not only competent and practical, but is enjoyable and really communicates."

David Mee-Lee, M.D.
International Trainer in Addiction Medicine
Chief Editor of The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Criteria

"Mark Stanford Ph.D. is one of the architects of an exemplary system of care for the treatment of individuals with substance use disorders (SUD). Mark has the rare combination of abilities to understand the science of addiction and to be able to translate that science into real world practices and policies that result in the optimal delivery of evidence-based care. Added to this expertise, Mark has spent thousands of hours with the patients who receive SUD treatment, so for him patient-centered care isn't a new buzz word, it is how he has spent his career."

Rick Rawson, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science
UCLA School of Medicine

"As Director of the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System, Department of Alcohol and Drug Services for four decades, I know Dr. Stanford both in his work in the non-profit sector and as my Director of Addiction Medicine and Behavioral Health Services. For decades Dr. Stanford provided the academic and operational leadership in my Department and within the Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center in developing addiction medicine services. More than anyone in the County’s Health & Hospital System, he is responsible for developing substance use treatment services within the medical care system. As Director of the Department’s Addiction Medicine and Behavioral Health Programs, he developed the best addiction medicine services in California. His expertise in training and consulting has made him an invaluable resource in getting other systems of care to incorporate addiction services. I believe Dr. Stanford is the very best in his field. He is a leader without peer. "

Robert Garner
Immediate Past Director of Alcohol and Drug Services
Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System

"As Chief Outpatient Psychiatrist for Santa Clara County, I have the pleasure of working alongside Dr. Stanford on a variety of projects. I can truly say, interacting with Dr. Stanford is an enlightening experience. He offers an entirely unique perspective to the assessment and management of our most challenging dual-diagnosis patients. Dr. Stanford is a gifted instructor and clinician, combining his deep level of knowledge, with an empathic, highly practical, and evidence-based approach to care. Dr. Stanford has been an invaluable part of our behavioral health care system; through his teaching and consultation, he has greatly enhanced the quality of care we deliver."

Anthony Cozzolino, M.D.
Chief Outpatient Psychiatry, Department of Mental Health
Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System

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