Drug abuse budget going cold turkey

JEFFERSON CITY – Funding allocations for the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADA) as proposed by Gov. Matt Blunt will lead to steep reductions in program capacity and elimination of several programs.

Michael Couty, Director of the ADA, presented the core reduction and impact statement to the House Committee for Appropriations on March 1.

The loss of general revenue funds for the ADA from federal funds for fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2009 will be more than $33 million. The general revenue reduction for fiscal year 2006 is more than $10.2 million.

The loss of federal block grant funds will impact thousands of Missouri children.

The impact statement details prevention programs to be eliminated because of the grant losses.

Programs being eliminated include the Missouri SPIRIT school-based program, programs for binge drinking in colleges and closure of “Smart Moves,” a best-practice program impacting 5,000 youth statewide through the Missouri Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs.

Mothers with a drug or alcohol abuse problem who have had their children removed from their homes by family courts because of abuse or neglect would become non-Medicaid eligible, as opposed to Medicaid eligible.

“And because they are no longer Medicaid covered, we would have to have non-Medicaid dollars to take care of them,” Couty said.

Non-Medicaid funds took the largest reductions. As a result, approximately 50 percent of non-Medicaid covered CSTAR women and children will no longer receive services.

Without this service or access to private drug and alcohol abuse programs, these women are unlikely to regain custody of their children, particularly if participation in a program is a condition of the court.

The criminal justice system refers about 35 percent of persons receiving treatment in the CSTAR adult programs.

Faith-based and non-traditional services for substance abuse, an initiative of President George Bush, are funded by the Federal Access to Recovery Grant. Missouri was rated first among the 43 grant applicants, and one of only 15 to be awarded the grant.

The grant stipulates funding must not supplant other funds. It was intended to support additional services and increase the number of persons served.

Missouri stands to lose $20.5 million of the total grant award of $22.8 million over the next three years.

The ADA calculated 7,918 Missourians would have received service providers funded in part from this grant.

The ADA held a training for faith-based and non-traditional providers in January and has another scheduled for later this year, pending outcome of the appropriations process.

Drug courts would also feel the effect of funding rollbacks. The ADA provides much of the funding drug courts use for support services.

“I’m not saying we are the only funding, but we are the largest funding (source for drug courts),” Couty said.

Drug courts utilize primary recovery programs.

Over the next two years, Couty said, 81 percent of primary recovery programs will eliminated due to rollbacks from the general revenue fund and the loss of Federal grants.