Addiction programs need our support
January 24, 2014
Ms. Roseann Potter's recent op-ed (”Treating addiction cheaper than policing it,” Times-Standard, Jan. 15, Page A4) is absolutely right that we need innovative and community-based approaches for drug use prevention and substance abuse treatment. These efforts save lives.
Many in our communities are doing incredible work to combat substance abuse. In Humboldt County, organizations like the Alcohol and Drug Care Services and United Indian Health Services are doing great work. In Mendocino County, the Adult and Family Drug Courts are showing encouraging results -- 85 percent of graduates from the intensive drug rehabilitation programs go on to lead drug-free lives.
An important part of my job as your Representative in Congress is advocating for federal support to these efforts. That's why I authored a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging them to increase grant funding to assist in expanding these programs nationally. Unfortunately, the recently passed appropriations bill cut drug court funding by 10 percent. It's critical that we restore -- and increase -- this funding. Thankfully, because of the Affordable Care Act, health insurers must now include coverage for substance abuse disorders and rehabilitative care. This will be a big help in ensuring that people get the help they need.
I'll keep fighting at the federal level for drug courts and local treatment programs, and I'll keep talking to my colleagues about how the marginalization of substance abuse is only making the problem worse. Until we get the support we need in Congress, we need activists across America like Ms. Potter to step up and make their voices heard.