Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller wants the state legislature to increase drug treatment funding by 17-million dollars in the next year. Miller says Iowa has done a good job of preventing illegal drug use and arresting those who make and sell the stuff — but he says funding has been inadequate for programs that help drug addicts recover. He says 80-percent of the people in Iowa prisons have a substance abuse problem, and a third of them committed their crimes while under the influence of drugs.
Miller says the drug treatment program is underfunded by about 25-million dollars, but he’s only asking for 17-million. Miller has this message for legislators. He says, “Put up or shut up. You talk a good game. You talk about crime, being tough on crime. You talk about kids. This is the most important thing you can do to deal with crime and to help kids. You are either able to produce or you’re not.” Miller says claims of a tight budget are no longer an excuse for not funding drug treatment. He says we always hear that the state is broke, but he says that’s not true anymore. He says there’s increased revenues and money from the tobacco refinancing.
Miller says it seems to him that when there is more money, it should go to drug treatment because the drug problem affects the state in so many ways. Miller says the drug treatment budget has lagged behind for years. He says the state is spending about 50-million dollars this year on drug treatment, compared to 55-and-a-half million five years ago. Miller says if that was adjusted for inflation, the amount spent would be less.
Miller wants to target seven million of the new money to programs that help people with kids get treatment to get off drugs. He says the drugs create a tremendous cost for the kids, harming their psychological and emotional well being, their care and other things. He says increased treatment will help the kids. Miller also calls for three million dollars of the money to expand the drug courts in the state.