Panel Calls for States to Take Lead on Addiction Policy

Michael Dukakis is chairing a panel of government officials, treatment providers and recovery advocates. They recently released a report that calls for states to take lead on addiction policy:

…states bear many of the costs of alcohol and other drug addiction, spending an estimated 13 percent of their budgets on addiction-related problems.

However, the report noted, ‘Less than four percent of this is spent on prevention and treatment, while more than 96 percent pays for the avoidable social and physical consequences that result from our failure to apply what we know about how to prevent and treat substance-use problems.’ These costs include child-welfare, prison, court, police, and Medicaid expenditures for treating medical problems related to addictive illnesses.

recommendations include that states do the following:

  • develop a statewide strategy that includes all agencies affected by drug and alcohol problems
  • increase accountability for all state agencies working on issues related to addiction
  • educate lawmakers about the costs of alcohol and other drug addiction to improve their participation in policymaking
  • train judges to address alcohol and other drug use among defendants and improve coordination with treatment services
  • create a state alcohol and other drug policy advisory board, answerable to the governor and lawmakers, that includes representatives from the recovering community and civic leaders
  • The whole report is available here. It’s not an exciting read, but it is worth downloading.