Battles Continue Over Addiction Treatment Program Budgets

By Staff Writer

Add Maine to the list of states slashing spending on addiction treatment services. The state’s governor recently proposed a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that would trim spending on addiction and mental health services by almost one third, according to the Times Record.

Governor Paul LePage’s budget would eliminate $3.96 million in funding from the Office of Substance Abuse. Among other things, this department provides subsidies for local private drug rehab facilities, allowing them to offer more effective treatment to a greater number of patients.

The cuts are part of a larger effort to close a large budget deficit, but experts say that it could be counter-productive. One drug rehab specialist told the news source that denying addicts treatment would likely lead to more crime, which necessitates more spending on law enforcement and corrections. He said that money would be better used on addiction treatment services.

Similar battles are being waged over proposed cuts to addiction treatment programs in states across the country. Lawmakers in Ohio, Illinois and Nevada have all suggested eliminating funding for addiction services in order to close budgetary shortfalls.