Are you serious? The state that is known to have the worst problem with prescription drug abuse, with pill-mills reportedly all over, is proposing a huge cut for funding in substance abuse services. Since the crackdown of the pill-mills, Florida may see a rise in heroin use. And they propose to cut funds for these addicts? It seems ludicrous to me.
According to the Miami Herald, the Florida Senate has proposed major budget cuts in substance abuse and mental health treatment in order to close the $2 billion dollar gap in the budget. This proposal would greatly reduce substance abuse services, even completely eliminating it in some cases, by slashing the budget for mental health by almost 40%.
“It is not that alcoholics, drug addicts, and the mentally ill do not need help,” said Senator Negron. ”When it comes to funding, an 85-year-old woman in a nursing home matters more to me than a 45-year-old guy with a substance abuse problem. It’s all about priorities.” The House in Florida passed a budget last week calling for an additional $32 million in treatment funds, but the Senate proposes something quite different. The opposition to this proposal points out that drug treatment is cheaper than jails, and with this major funding cut many addicts will likely end up in jail. The potential cost if this proposal passes could be staggering, especially considering the rampant prescription opiate problem in the state.