Every year, Pennsylvania police officers and drug agents make 50,000 new drug arrests. Since 1997, the state has seen a 142 percent increase in admissions for heroin treatment, and there’s been a 16 percent increase in drunken driving arrests. Yet Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol programs this year face a reduction of almost $3 million in state funding, which state officials say won’t affect treatment programs, and they stand to lose millions in federal funding over the next three years, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
It’s a trend that goes back years: Addictions and alcohol abuse rise while funding to treat them remains flat or goes down. Allegheny County has virtually the same funding for drug and alcohol treatment today as it did in 2000, but it’s serving half again as many people. In a package of stories, the Post-Gazette analyzes the issue and presents evidence for why taxpayers should care.