FADAA Strongly Opposes DOC Substance Abuse Program Cuts
Monday, May 21, 2018
Posted by: Rebecca Roberts
News Channel 7 WJHG/Capitol News Service
Palm Beach Post
Tampa Bay Times
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FLORIDA ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE ASSOCIATION STRONGLY OPPOSES DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CUTTING SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAMS
Corrections Attempts to Solve its Budget Crisis by Ending Legislatively Approved Community Substance Abuse Programs
TALLAHAHASSEE, MAY 2, 2018 – The Florida Department of Corrections announced late yesterday it intends to “cancel and reduce contracts with many of its community partners.” The 33 community partners affected are substance abuse treatment centers around the state that provide necessary substance abuse, re-entry, and transitional housing services to inmates in order to prevent recidivism and provide the best opportunities re-integrate individuals back into society.
The agency’s decision to abruptly end successful community-based programs will mean more people waiting to get into fewer beds and judges will lose the ability to order selected candidates into court-ordered treatment. “People who were just put into a treatment program meant to last three to six months will have nowhere to go. The end of these programs will mean more inmates stay in the corrections system, or go back into it,” said Mary Lynn Ulrey, CEO of DACCO Behavioral Health, Inc. located in Tampa. DACCO is currently slated to see a significant reduction in services while other contracts are being cancelled.
The treatment facilities currently providing services to the state are only being given 48 hours to decide whether they can afford to cut their contracts by up to 40 percent. Those companies refusing to sign the requested amendment will have their contracts automatically terminated.
“We’re in the middle of an opioid epidemic in Florida and in the nation,” said FADAA Executive Director Mark Fontaine. “This is not the time to reduce substance abuse treatment to anyone. It’s an unacceptable move by the department. They are trying to resolve their budget issues by riding on the backs of treatment providers. Good public policy calls for enhanced substance abuse treatment programs not reducing them to address a budget issue.”
Community-based programs currently serve just over 38,000 probationary offenders in outpatient and short-term residential settings where they receive counseling and employment in the area. Services include individual, group, and family counseling and drug education services. A 40 percent reduction could mean more than 15,000 people go without needed care.
In addition to ending community-based programs, the elimination of institutional substance abuse treatment programs will result in individuals returning to the community without critical treatment.
The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association is calling on lawmakers and treatment providers to stand up to this reproachable move by not only recalling the 48-hour mandate, but by reinstating the legislatively approved 9.2 million dollars to substance abuse community treatment programs.
The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA), incorporated in 1981, is a non-profit membership association representing substance abuse prevention and treatment providers, managing entities, and community anti-drug coalitions. FADAA's mission is to serve its members by advancing addiction and co-occurring treatment, prevention, and research through communications, professional development, and public policy leadership.
The Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA) formed in April of 2013 as a 501(c)6. The purpose of FBHA is to unite people engaged in the business of behavioral health and behavioral medicine with a specific focus on promoting legislation, funding, and policies that recognize and advance behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery. FBHA also serves as a liaison on the state and federal levels by working with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of behavioral health and to increase the image and exposure of the behavioral health industry.