The economic stimulus package being considered by Congress should include an increase of at least $100 million for the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant as well as more funding for addiction services under the Medicaid program, according to a letter sent to Congressional leaders by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD).
The letter, sent on Dec. 18 to the House and Senate leadership as well as members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, noted that states are facing major fiscal challenges and said that investing in the block grant and Medicaid treatment would foster economic growth.
NASADAD reported that nearly 70 percent of state substance-abuse agencies are facing either a hiring freeze or laying off staff, about half have cut services, and 42 percent expect budget cuts in the future.
“An investment in the SAPT Block Grant ensures that resources will reach all states and territories in an effective and efficient manner,” said Rob Morrison, interim executive director of NASADAD. “[I]ndividuals receiving services from SAPT Block Grant funded programs demonstrated high abstinence rates at discharge from both illegal drug (68.3 percent) and alcohol (73.7 percent) use. The SAPT Block Grant also ensures accountability given that providers, counties and States work together to report how services affect people’s lives — including the impact services have on alcohol and other drug use; employment; criminal justice activity; housing; and more. Thus, strong investments in federal-State programs, like the SAPT Block Grant, are a valuable way to foster economic growth and help those most in need of services.”