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California Budget Update - Alcohol and Drug Treatment

by James Heller 16. July 2009 12:15
Looking at news reports and the California Budget Committee’s website, it is difficult to get information on the status of funding for alcohol and drug treatment through Prop 36, OTP, and Drug Medi-Cal.  Of course nothing will be certain until the California Legislature approves the new budget and the governor signs it.  So, for now, contacting your representatives and the Budget Committee with your wishes is important.

The latest published information can be rather confusing to those who are unfamiliar with legal and political jargon.  As of June 30th, it looks like alcohol and drug treatment programs will continue to be funded, but drastically cut according to a State Senate report.  This is promising news, but legislators need to be informed that more funding for these programs means greater cost savings in other areas of the budget.

Drug Medi-Cal has proven to reduce healthcare costs that result from drug use.  Cutting funding for this program will impact many low-income individuals.  Instead of getting treatment for the source of their health problems, they will eventually need treatment for problems that develop due to drug addiction.  Maintained funding for Drug Medi-Cal can mean a net savings on the state budget.

Citizens Contacting California Legislators to date has appeared to convince them that Prop 36 and Offender Treatment Programs (OTP) need to be funded.  However, funding for the very successful Prop 36 is proposed to be slashed to a fraction of last year’s budget.  There is no excuse to decrease funding on either of these programs.

Prop 36, for example, was mandated by voters in 2000 to send non-violent drug offenders to alcohol or drug treatment rather than incarcerate them.  Low funding will mean that these offenders will be sentenced to treatment, but might need to wait to enter alcohol and drug treatment.  This places them at risk for relapse and probable incarceration, raising corrections costs in California.

Prop 36 pays for itself and actually returns $2.50 to California for every dollar spent.  OTP, along with suggested corrections and parole reforms, will also decrease the budget deficit through cost savings in state facilities.  Legislators seem to be heading in the direction of corrections and parole reforms that will make these savings a reality.  They only need a little more convincing.

If you have not contacted your California Assemblymember or State Senator, please do so now and tell them you want full funding for programs that work and save money.  You can find your representatives’ contact information here.

If you have already contacted them, do it again.  The California Legislature needs to know how important it is to voters that these successful programs continue unimpeded.

The information below is from a report released on June 30th, before California was forced to issue IOUs to contractors.  The full report details most of the budget items under consideration.

-- Begin external content --

_ Alcohol and Drug Programs: Reduces funding by $90 million for Proposition 36 programs that provide treatment to substance abuse offenders, but continues to fund treatment under the Offender Treatment Program (OTP).  Provides federal Byrne funds of approximately $60 million to supplement OTP services.

Reduces, by 10 percent, the rates paid to Drug Medi-Cal providers for a General Fund savings of $8.8 million.

Overall in Corrections: Achieves $1.2 billion in savings (somewhat less than the Governor’s amount). Includes prison and parole reforms (including eliminating parole for low-risk offenders, increasing supervision for higher risk parolees, bolstering probation supervision, implementing re-entry courts); modification to sentencing laws for “wobblers” (fewer changes than proposed by the Governor); and alternative custody options.
Reduces funds for less effective rehabilitation programs (but not elimination, as proposed by the Governor), and includes unallocated reductions to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, including to headquarters administration (using more realistic assumptions than the Governor’s).

-- Source: http://www.sen.ca.gov/budget/2009conf/6292009ConfComHighlights.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.