Idaho drug czar Debbie Field has asked legislators to approve $25.5 million for substance abuse prevention — about $22 million more than recommended by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, the Associated Press reports. Most of the money would cover a community-based substance abuse treatment program that began in 2005 under a three-year federal grant. The Access to Recovery program provided treatment to juveniles and adults on probation and parole as well as to some people outside the criminal justice system, based on financial need.
Otter, who is pushing to keep the state’s budget from growing at all this year, said he couldn’t support the request because the agencies charged with providing treatment couldn’t show him that they were getting any results. “Just like I’ve demanded from every department: ‘What are you doing with the money you’ve got now?'” Otter told AP. “They couldn’t go through each charge and tell me what the success or the failure rate was.” No one was keeping track of the numbers until last year, said Field, a former state representative. Substance abuse treatment was fragmented across several agencies, and they used different tools to determine the level of addiction and the treatment required for each person. Now state agencies as well as private substance abuse treatment providers are using the same assessment tool, and tracking their success rates in the same way, Field said.