Texas at Risk of Increasing Costs Due to Cuts in Drug Programs

Texas at Risk of Increasing Costs Due to Cuts in Drug Programs

As state and local governments throughout the country have felt – and continue to feel – the affects of budget crunches as a result of the recession that rattled the economic stability in 2008, certain programs are targeted for elimination in order to keep things on track. When that program is aimed at addiction recovery, however, there is some fighting to keep it in place.

According to a recent Dallas News report, a nationally acclaimed program proven to help even the hardest-core addicts to walk away from an addiction is at risk of being cut. Just how important are such programs in Texas? According to data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 70 percent of the 72,000 offenders freed from lockups last year alone were chemically dependent.

If such offenders are granted the ability to walk free without any type of drug rehabilitation program, they are a potential threat to the community, property and even lives. For those criminologists and others in the field, the dedicated work of drug and alcohol counseling and community supervision are the keys to reductions in addiction. If such programs are cut, they believe entire communities will be at risk.

Known as the Diversion program, Texas’s approach to keeping prison numbers at a manageable level could be compromised if the budget were to cut out the program. Proponents for keeping the program argue that a cut now could cause long-term problems that will end up costing the state more in the long run.

One argument for keeping the program is a look at the current climate. The offender population in the state has decreased slightly since 2007 – the year the Legislature began investing more money in treatment and diversion. If the programs stay in place, the population is expected to remain flat through 2015.

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