Pubdate: Sat, 17 Apr 2004
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2004 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Jonathan D. Scott
Bookmark: (Treatment)


MARK COVEN'S well-researched April 13 op-ed article "Our surrender in war 
on drugs" thoughtfully frames the issues causing the erosion of state 
dollars for treating substance abuse. The article also underscores our 
governor's indifference, if not callous disregard, for supporting the 
treatment and care of people with addictions. Even though Governor Romney 
expresses concern for the skyrocketing epidemic rise in heroin addiction in 
virtually every community in Massachusetts, there is nothing in his budget 
that reflects even a modicum of a commitment to core services for the 
uninsured living with substance abuse. The deleterious path the Romney 
administration is leading Massachusetts down has already had deadly 
consequences. Last spring the state lost 50 percent of its detox beds.

Astoundingly, this year the state has unveiled a budget that recommends 
even further cuts, including a decrease of $2 million for the Bureau of 
Substance Abuse Services. The loss only highlights Romney's disregard for 
the current system of treatment for substance abuse. More important, the 
governor ignores the huge impact the loss of matching federal dollars would 
have on the substance abuse system if his recommendations are sustained.

The spin of the administration is to justify direct cuts to the Bureau of 
Substance Abuse -- the one governmental agency that has historically built 
our system of care -- by trying to hoodwink us into believing that the 
governor is reallocating substance abuse services elsewhere.

If the money is somewhere else in his budget, he's done a good job burying 
it. During his campaign, Romney made a commitment to preserve core 
services. These recommendations don't just cut a few core services but 
rather will wipe out what little is left of substance abuse treatment.



Victory Programs Inc.

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake