More state funding for drug treatment?

Aug 08, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Treatment for drug addiction is expensive. For some addicts, private insurance plans will cover all or part of the cost. New Hampshire residents covered under the state’s Medicaid expansion can also get treatment paid for, while more limited benefits are available to standard Medicaid patients.

However, uninsured addicts can still be left struggling to pay for treatment, and even those who are covered can have difficulty finding space in residential or intensive outpatient treatment centers, where demand far exceeds capacity.

This has led some to call for increased state funding of treatment programs.

Current funding situation

In this year’s budget, the New Hampshire Legislature increased funding for substance abuse treatment by over $20 million. They accomplished this in large part by increasing the percentage of alcohol sales that go to treatment programs. 

Is more funding needed?

Supporters of more state funding for addiction treatment argue that state funded treatment facilities offer an invaluable resource to low income patients, including those not covered by Medicaid or insurance, thus saving lives and reducing crime. They point to the fact that current demand exceeds the number of treatment centers available and say additional funding would help expand capacity and subsidize treatment for those who need it most.

Or should there be a pause before more funding?

HOPE for NH Recovery, the state’s largest drug recovery treatment facility has recently had its state funding put on hold as the DHHS and Attorney General’s office look into complaints of mismanagement of funds and verbal abuse by senior employees. This has led some policymakers to question if New Hampshire needs to be more thoughtful in its spending on treatment.

Other opponents of increased state funding say that drug abuse is a personal choice and the cost of treatment should therefore be the individual’s responsibility. They believe there are higher priorities for the state’s limited funds than heroin addiction.

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