The state health department received a 9.4 million dollar federal grant today to fund a program that helps people addicted to drugs recover. Tom Newton is the director of the Health Department. Newton say the three-year competative, discretionary grant program is a Presidential initiative which provides vouchers to clients for the purchase of substance abuse clinical treatment and also recovery support services.
Newton says the recovery support vouchers allow someone seeking treatment to pay for things such as childcare, a taxi to get to the treatment program. Newton used the example of a single mother of two in Cedar Rapids who is seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment, but doesn’t have a car or anyone to watch her kids.
"It is our responsibility to support her any way we can on her road to recovery," Newton says. He says this "Access to Choice Program" would help her. Newton says the program impacts more than those who’re seeking treatment. He says 200,000 Iowans have sought services through one of the state’s licensed substance abuse treatment programs in the last five years.
Newton says if each one of those people touched the lives of three, four or five other people, then you can see the impact of the problem. Newton says the recovery program impacts the friends, families and communities of those who seek treatments. He says less than 10% of the people who sought recover help were able to get it, and this new money will allow them to expand the services.
The administrator of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Terry Cline, was on hand in Des Moines to present the check to Iowa officials. Cline says nearly 24-million people in the entire U.S. sought treatment services in 2006 and only two-and-a-half were able to get help.
Cline says on the state level, there were 52,000 people in Iowa who needed treatment for "illicit drugs" and couldn’t get treatment. There were 209,000 who sought alcohol treatment, but couldn’t get it. Cline says the Iowa program that helps recovery is innovative, as the end goal of any treatment is to see that people recover.
Cline says the program needs to measure the type of things that indicate and help sustain recover, such as affordable and stable housing, staying in school as a student, decreased contact with the criminal justice system, and contact for those in treatment so they don’t feel isolated from society and become much more vulnerable to relapse.
The Iowa Department of Public Health says it anticipates offering services to 800 people in the first year as the program gets underway, and projects there’ll be 1,700 in each of the next two years.