There are heated battles raging across our country right now about budget shortfalls. Many states and the federal government are faced with huge budget deficits, leaving many people wondering how we can ever make up the funds. There’s always the option of raising taxes to cover the excess costs, but that is usually met with a lot of resistance. That leaves the government with the task of making cuts in programs and spending.
Cutting Drug Treatment Programs
One area that seems to get bumped out of state budgets pretty quickly is funding for drug and alcohol treatment. Most people would acknowledge that this is a worthy cause, but it’s hard to commit the funds for such programs. Most finance committees struggle with what treatment programs to fund, because on the one hand we need money for law enforcement, prisons, and courts that prosecute drug and alcohol offenders. On the other hand, research shows that offering treatment to drug addicts and alcoholics instead of or in connection with punishment, results in much better outcomes for these individuals. When it comes down to it, however, few people can justify taking money and power from our police and putting it toward treating felons for substance abuse.
Putting Money Where it Works
Those who know how beneficial a “last chance” treatment program for convicted drug addicts is will be in favor of their government devoting a little extra money for the programs. Even if it means more money up front, it will save money in the long run and many lives can be forever changed for the better. Still, many people don’t see it that way, and those in favor of better treatment for drug addicted criminals need to find a way to have their voice heard.
Taking a Stand
A concerned citizen who doesn’t want to see funds cut from drug rehab programs can take action in a few ways. First of all, they can call their legislator and state officials. So often we are afraid to say anything or we feel small and insignificant, but if it is something you believe in, let it be known. Legislators are there to represent us, and believe it or not, they do take note of the phone calls and letters they receive.
A citizen in favor of more money for treatment programs can also get more involved in the political process, and actually find lawmakers who are sympathetic to the movement. Speak with them about concerns with the budget and once you find someone who is on board, stay in touch with them to keep their support.
Finally, someone who is passionate about treatment can do whatever it takes to support their local rehab facilities. Helping advance awareness for drug treatment and raising funds for local programs and support groups will help promote the idea of treatment to others.