States Look to Slash Addiction Treatment Funding to Close Budget Deficits

By Staff Writer

Faced with the prospect of exploding budget deficits, state governments across the country are considering cutting addiction treatment services. However, experts have called these moves shortsighted, saying that more people with intractable chemical dependencies would go without help.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is the latest to make such a proposal. A recent budget crafted by his office would eliminate all state funding for rehab programs, according to the Medill News Service.

While proponents of the budget say that it would help the state make up large deficits, drug rehab experts told the news source that it would leave many individuals who are in need of treatment without anywhere to turn.

A similar story is unfolding in North Carolina, where lawmakers recently voted to cut the budget of a drug court program by $2 million for next year, according to the Charlotte Observer. The program provides addiction treatment for nonviolent drug offenders rather than sending them to prison.

An administrator for the program told the news source that the cuts were shortsighted, as housing a prisoner can cost between $25,000 and $30,000 per year, whereas putting an individual through the program costs a mere $2,500.