Several years ago the popular way of addressing drug and alcohol problems was to incarcerate offenders, with the erroneous belief that you could lock the problem away. Prisons throughout the country saw an incredible influx of people arrested for non-violent crimes such as drug possession, probation violations and other drug-related charges.
As the years have gone by, many people have realized that simply arresting those addicted to drugs is not going to solve the drug problem in our nation. Many people have since continued to be advocates for drug and alcohol treatment for offenders, rather than jail or prison time.
Going in line with this new way of thinking is the amount of money being allocated for treatment centers. In the past most money would be earmarked for prisons in order to handle the growing drug addicted population, but it is now being given to treatment centers and programs that allow addicts to get better. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) have gotten together to establish Access to Recovery.
Access to Recovery is a program that awards grant money to treatment centers in order to increase the amount of patients they can see and allow for better access to the treatment centers. One grant recipient in Iowa is receiving almost $8 million dollars over the next three years. That money is to go to a voucher system where clients can purchase treatment services. In addition to vouchers, the money is also going to establish transportation, child care and housing for those in need of treatment, according to reports.
Policymakers have realized that there are so many obstacles for those needing treatment, oftentimes those obstacles are put there by the state. The goal is to make getting treatment for drug and alcohol abuse easier and more acceptable.
Iowa is just one of six states that are currently receiving these large grants. As time goes on the hope is that more and more people will see the need for a focus on recovery and more grants will be established. The country has seen such an increase in drug abuse that many other states are vying for these grants.