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Monday, November 9, 2009

New York has Become aTesting Ground for the Potential to Expand Treatment Programs

About 37 percent of people who need and seek out drug and alcohol treatment do not get it because they cannot afford it. Sadly, many people end up in jail or prison before they ever go to treatment. In a lot of cases getting caught up in the legal system is a direct result of states not providing adequate drug treatment availability. In the last year a number of states have even cut spending on drug treatment. What is interesting about cutting spending on drug treatment is that sending someone to treatment is significantly less expensive than prison. New York has become a testing ground for the potential to expand treatment programs.

The Rockefeller drug laws enacted in the 70's were reformed this year, this is a huge step in the right direction and will save more lives. Now, nonviolent offenders who would have faced long, mandatory prison terms will be provided treatment and New York will be injecting $50 million in the treatment programs state wide. "An estimated 80 percent of the 60,000 offenders in New York's prisons have substance abuse problems", according to the Associated Press. Expanding drug treatment is the most logical decision and makes clear that the disease concept of addiction is starting to make sense to politicians.

Unfortunately, California recently cut $250 million designated for rehabilitation services throughout the prisons and jails. This has done nothing but cost California more money in the long run by contributing to recidivism, in a prison full of addicts there is only one solution that has proven to work - treatment. Congress recently passed a bill that will in the near future prohibit insurance companies from denying insurance based on pre-existing health conditions. This will allow more people to get health insurance thus giving more addicts the option of life saving drug treatment - hopefully. Sadly, many insurance companies do not cover the cost of detox or treatment despite it being classified and accepted as a disease; perhaps, when this bill in Washington is completely worked out, that will no longer be the case. It is time to give people the care they deserve, treatment is always a better choice than prison.

1 comment:

  1. Nice concept. It is very interesting article here. I look forward to reading these blog, they always intrigue and interest me. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment!

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