Right Now, We’re Funding Jails, Not Treatment.
If you look at every dollar Texas spent solving substance abuse problems, you’ll find a whopping 96 cents spent on the justice system, healthcare costs and lost education. Only 2 cents is spent on prevention and treatment.
Prevention and Treatment Saves Our State Money
Studies have shown that directing funds for substance abuse prevention and treatment services leads to savings in other areas. The Texas Legislature acknowledged this in 2007, when instead of spending scarce resources to build additional prisons, it made more treatment services available. In 2009, the legislature included an adult substance abuse treatment benefit for Medicaid enrollees based on findings that anticipated expenditures would be more than offset by reducing medical care expenditures. This conclusion was based on results already observed here in Texas.
Numerous studies have also concluded that targeted, evidence-based prevention programs provide significant return on investment for the state by improving education performance, reducing utilization of the criminal justice system and reducing healthcare expenditures due to reduced drug and alcohol abuse.