Pubdate: Thu, 13 Mar 2003
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2003 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Barry R. McCaffrey
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Pennsylvania's proposed spending plan for drug treatment compels me to
write. The pending state budget proposal currently will eliminate more
than $68 million - a 40 percent cut - for treatment, impacting an
estimated 17,000 of the commonwealth's most-vulnerable citizens, and
it will further devastate their desperate, frightened families. Some
antidrug programs will be cut out entirely.

Research and experience have taught us that addiction treatment is a
wise investment. The research is overwhelming: Every dollar spent on
treatment saves a minimum of $7 in other health care, as well as in
the reduction of crime. The effects of the recession in Pennsylvania
are doubtless extremely painful. Nonetheless, reductions in support of
the treatment of addictive diseases will surely accelerate health care
costs and crime across the commonwealth.

This is our most important domestic struggle. With one in four
families facing addiction and chronic substance abuse, it is the
battle we wage in our homes and hearts. It is a struggle for the lives
of our nation's children.

I urge Gov. Rendell and state legislative leaders to restore treatment
dollars in the budget.

Barry R. McCaffrey

General, USA (Ret.)

Alexandria, Va.

McCaffrey is the former director of the White House Office of National
Drug Control Policy. 
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