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Home > Research Articles > HHS to Propose Increased Funding to Narrow Drug Treatment Gap

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Friday, February 1, 2002

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced that President Bush will propose an increase of $127 million for his five-year drug treatment initiative to reduce the 'treatment gap' in the United States -- the difference between the number of people who need treatment for an illicit drug problem and those who receive the treatment and services necessary to rebuild their lives. The President's proposal is for the second year of this five-year initiative.

"There continues to be a great need to expand our nation's capacity to treat people who are addicted to illegal drugs," Secretary Thompson said. "This administration is committed to supporting local programs that combat the personal despair and community disintegration brought by drug addiction."

The proposed funding will allow states and local communities to provide treatment services to approximately 546,000 individuals, an increase of 52,000 over fiscal year 2002. The funding will be administered by HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found in 2000 that approximately 800,000 people who needed treatment for an illicit drug problem received treatment at a specialty facility. Of the 3.9 million people who needed but did not receive treatment in 2000, an estimated 381,000 reported that they felt they needed treatment for their drug problem. This estimate includes 129,000 people who reported that they had made an effort but were unable to get treatment and 252,000 who reported making no effort to get treatment.

John P. Walters, the nation's Drug Czar, noted that the President's proposed budget reinforces the administration's commitment to providing effective drug treatment, and emphasized the importance of encouraging those in need to seek help. "The funding increases proposed by the President will provide critical resources where they are needed most: at the local level," said Walters. "Bolstering the treatment system will make it even more important to engage friends, spouses, and employers of drug users in the 'compassionate coercion' that is so often necessary to help drug users help themselves."

HHS' fiscal year 2003 budget will request an increase of $127 million for the President's drug treatment initiative, providing increased funding for the Substance Abuse Block Grant (an additional $60 million) and for competitive drug treatment grants (an additional $67 million). The Substance Abuse Block Grant is the cornerstone of states' substance abuse programs, providing approximately 51 percent of all public funds expended for substance abuse treatment and support for 10,500 community-based organizations.

The President's initiative brings total requested funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention activities under SAMHSA to $2.3 billion.