Republican legislators are pushing an idea they say could keep a substance abuse treatment center in Mount Pleasant open. The Department of Human Services will close the center to save money. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says part of a “bonus” payment Iowa’s getting from the feds for welfare reform efforts could be used to keep the center open. He says noone wants to close down drug facilities, and the proposal to shift money around would prevent that.But Roger Munns, a spokesman for the Department of Human Services, says given the state budget squeeze, it’s a matter of priorities.Munns says it’s a fine program, but doesn’t fit within the department’s “core responsibilities” of providing help for needy Iowans and protection for those who’re abused. Munns also says the federal “bonus” money can’t be used to save the center. He says the money is welfare money and has specific uses, and substance abuse programs are not part of those.There are 30 patients in the substance abuse treatment center now.They aren’t admitting any new patients, and once the last one completes their treatment, it’ll be closed. The facility is mainly for people charged with a crime who agree to undergo substance abuse treatment, and avoid a prison sentence.
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