Increase funding for treatment programs

Gov. Corbett was in the papers again for seemingly the wrong reasons after saying Pennsylvania’s lagging job growth is due in part to too many potential employees failing company drug tests.

But was his assertion that far-fetched?

According to a 2011 report from Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center, the lost productivity from illegal drug use was $120.3 billion nationally.

The governor’s comments not only raised an important issue, but were well timed, as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has designated May as National Mental Health Awareness Month, and the third week as National Prevention Week.

This observance is an opportunity for concerned citizens, treatment agencies, and elected officials to coordinate our efforts and provide effective treatment for those that need it most.

One of the primary challenges to aiding individuals with addictions on the road to recovery is funding.

As noted recently by a Corbett administration official, only one of eight Pennsylvanians with addiction issues can receive adequate treatment due to lack of money for treatment programs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is updating many of the outdated regulations so substance abuse treatment providers can dedicate fewer costs to administration and more to treatment programs. But in the end, there is only so far you can make a dollar stretch.

Here’s a recommendation we can make to the governor: If substance abuse is truly an anchor weighing down a lagging economy and a productive workforce, then increase funding for treatment programs.

Get people into recovery and into the job market. It’s more than just the humane thing to do; it’s an investment in our community.

Jonathan Wolf

Chief Executive Officer,

Pyramid Healthcare, Inc.