Budget Deficits Threaten Funding For Addiction Treatment Programs

By Staff Writer

Despite the fact that cocaine addiction and other forms of chemical dependency are growing in prevalence, many state-funded addiction treatment programs are seeing their budgets reduced, as states work to eliminate deficits.

For example, Annette Holler, president of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board in Ohio, recently wrote in Marion Star that her organization has been hit particularly hard. The group stands to lose more than $800,000 in funding in next year’s budget.

This situation is particularly threatening because of rising addiction rates. Holler wrote that opiate addiction is recognized as a major threat to the health of individuals and communities in Ohio, a state that has higher rates of prescription drug abuse than most other parts of the country.

To contrast the situation, Holler said that it would be unthinkable for government officials to defund general health programs. Yet, while mental health and addiction issues are just as great a threat, it is easier for politicians to cut programs that address these issues.

Other states, including Nevada and Illinois, have proposed similar efforts to cut funding for addiction treatment programs in recent months, according to media reports. Officials have argued the moves are necessary to close budget deficits.