|VII. EXPAND ACCESS TO DRUG AND ALCOHOL TREATMENT|
Summary of the Problem: Between 60 and 80 percent of individuals under supervision of the criminal justice system in the U.S. were either under the influence of alcohol or other drugs when they committed an offense, committed the offense to support a drug addiction, were charged with a drug-related crime, or were using drugs or alcohol regularly. There is a wide gap between the need for treatment services and the provision of them. Of the 22.3 million Americans with alcohol or drug problems in 2007, only 2.4 million-roughly one in ten-received treatment at a specialty treatment facility, leaving 21.1 million untreated.
Many individuals under the supervision of the criminal justice system need publicly-funded, community-based drug and alcohol treatment programs. Increasing support for the largest federal source of funding for these services, the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant, administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), would expand access to drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services nationwide. The SAPT Block Grant is funded now at approximately $1.8 billion.
The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant is the backbone of the publicly supported prevention and treatment system in the U.S. SAMHSA's most recent data indicate that the SAPT Block Grant serves nearly two million individuals every year and provides roughly half of all public funding for treatment services. Over 10,500 community-based organizations receive federal Block Grant funding, which is passed on to them by their state governments. States receiving SAPT Block Grant funds also are required to contribute state funding for treatment, and many local governments do the same.
Executive: Include a request for increased funding in the President's annual budget request.
Legislative Appropriations (Solutions w/ Funding Requests): Increase funding for the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant through the annual appropriations process.
Executive Branch: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services; The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Legislative Branch: Committees of jurisdiction over the authorization of SAMHSA programming including the SAPT Block Grant: House Energy and Commerce Committee (Health Subcommittee), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee; Committees of jurisdiction over appropriations for the SAPT Block Grant:
Executive Branch: Over the past number of years, the Bush Administration has requested level funding or small increases for the SAPT Block Grant program. The Administration did support a Presidential initiative which focused on expanding access to addiction treatment and recovery support services, the Access to Recovery initiative, which was a key priority for SAMHSA. However, there is recognition within SAMHSA and the Department of Health and Human Services more broadly of the importance of the SAPT Block Grant program to ensuring that people with addiction histories receive the care they need.
Legislative Branch: The SAPT Block Grant program received level funding or small funding increases from Congress over the past number of years. While there are a number of Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees who have championed this program [including Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)], the Block Grant program is not even keeping up with the pace of inflation due to low budget requests and an increasingly challenging funding environment.
Potential Allies, Potential Opposition, and Public Opinion:
Potential Allies: A broad cross-section of national groups supports increasing funding for the SAPT Block Grant.
Potential Opposition: Competing programs in the appropriations process
Public Opinion: In 2006, Zogby International conducted a poll for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, entitled Public Attitudes toward Rehabilitation and Reentry. The poll found 80% of the American voting public believed drug treatment is "very important" to a person's successful reintegration into society after incarceration.
Additionally, 2004 poll conducted for Faces and Voices of Recovery by Peter Hart & Associates found that in examining a number of approaches that society could take to address the problem of addiction to alcohol and other drugs, the highest percentage of survey respondents (91 percent) answered that making more addiction treatment and recovery support services available so people who decide they need help can get the care they need was an important way to address addiction. (70 percent of respondents said it was very important and 21 percent said it was fairly important.)
75 percent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supported an increase in federal government funding for programs to prevent and treat addiction and support recovery, as well as fund scientific research on the causes of addiction (44 percent they would be much more likely and 31 percent said they would be somewhat more likely to vote for a candidate supporting that position.)
81 percent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supported reallocating dollars to place a greater emphasis on drug prevention, education, treatment and recovery support programming (48 percent they would be much more likely and 33 percent said they would be somewhat more likely to vote for a candidate supporting that position.)
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|Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 17:07|