Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

Constituency Reacts to Kennedy-Hatch Provisions

Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

Constituency Reacts to Kennedy-Hatch Provisions

Article excerpt

Alcohol/drug field groups addressed specific provisions in the Senate ADAMHA reauthorization in addition to their responses to the basic reorganization proposal.

The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) gave its support to maintaining the big alcohol, drug abuse and mental health services (ADMS) block grant as provided in the Senate bill.

NASADAD said the single block is the "best approach to ensure coordination at the state level and provide states with administrative and programmatic flexibility." Pending House legislation would split the block into separate mental health and substance abuse blocks.

At the same time, NASADAD said its Executive Committee supports the ADMS block formula revision proposed in the Kennedy-Hatch bill "if they are accompanied by a substantial increase in federal block grant appropriations. Without such an increase to the block grant, this formula could not be implemented in a fair manner and would result in serious disruptions to prevention and treatment services in a number of states."

NASADAD supported the Senate bill's provisions for the capacity expansion program so far as they embraced funding of alcohol treatment as well as other drug abuse treatment programs. "Since almost 70% of our nation's publicly funded treatment programs are combined alcohol and other drug abuse units, it makes good sense to expand substance abuse capacity," NASADAD said, adding that the Kennedy-Hatch bill "reflects the reality that increasingly more individuals have problems related to both alcohol and drugs."

However, NASADAD said the states "question the timing of the creation of new grant programs at a time when both federal and state resouces are scarce." Recalling the Waiting List Reduction Program that gave one-time federal money for treatment expansion, NASADAD said when the federal funds expired, the states were "left to try to find the funding to continue these expanded treatment slots."

NASADAD suggested that the CEP program be incorporated into the ADMS block grant in a way that would insure that additional funds be used for expanding treatment capacity and "better complement the other activities of the block grant."

Noting that the Administration and Congress are proposing that states be mandated to formulate statewide services plans to maintain eligibility for the ADMS block, NASADAD said, "For this activity to be successful, states must have the ability to manage and coordinate alcohol and other drug abuse services funding. Increased reliance on categorical and other competitive grant mechanisms makes planning and service delivery extremely difficult."

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) argued against maintenance of the present ADMS block, supporting the creation of discrete block grants for alcohol and other drugs and for mental health services, along lines of the pending House bill.

"The block grant should be split in accordance with a formula that retains the proportionate amount that is currently allotted to alcohol and drug services and mental health services in each state," NCADD said. "It is clear that the incidence and prevalence of these respective disorders are subject to different variables and that there is no significant programmatic purpose in linking state dollars for the addictions with mental health dollars. …

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