Spending low in Colorado on drug, alcohol programs | SummitDaily.com

Spending low in Colorado on drug, alcohol programs

DENVER – Colorado is among the lowest spenders when it comes to programs to prevent or treat alcohol and drug use – even though residents are more likely to abuse both, according to a recent analysis.Colorado spent $25.5 million in 2001 for drug and alcohol programs, less than half the $58 million average per state that year. State spending rose to $27.3 million in 2003, but $400,000 was cut from the past budget year and more reductions are looming.”I’ve been watching it so long, it’s not a surprise anymore; it’s a tragedy,” said Ann Moore, chief operating officer of Arapahoe House of Colorado, the state’s largest treatment center.Dan Hopkins, spokesman for Gov. Bill Owens, said the budget for treatment and prevention made steady improvement until the 2003-04 budget year, which was tight because of a recession.”That is one reason the governor’s office pursued a federal substance-abuse grant” worth $11.75 million over five years, Hopkins said.State budget cuts led Moore to trim her staff by 20 last year. She said more cuts would mean fewer people will get help from short-term detoxification services or programs for women and children.”Those people aren’t just going to disappear,” she said. “They’re going to fall into jails and hospital beds and welfare programs that cost (taxpayers) a lot more.”Coloradans rank far above the national average for using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, according to a two-year survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released last week.Those habits have turned into greater demands for treatment. The state ranked 10th for the percentage of residents older than 12 who have abused or were dependent on alcohol or drugs in the past year.—Information from: http://www.denverpost.com

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