Pubdate: Fri, 30 May 2003
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Copyright: 2003 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Author: Javacia N. Harris, Associated Press Writer
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


LOUISVILLE John P. Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, 
discussed a new plan on Thursday to expand and improve the nation's 
substance abuse treatment programs.

Walters gave details of President Bush's "Access to Recovery" treatment 
initiative which will create a voucher program to provide people with drug 
or alcohol dependencies with better treatment options and treatment centers 
with more resources.

Walters, who spoke at Louisville's Volunteers of America center, said he 
came to Kentucky to discuss this national effort because of the drug 
problems facing this region.

"I know from the national data that we have that this area of the country 
has particularly and disproportionately been affected by substance abuse," 
Walters said. In 2001, 1,560 people entered Louisville-area emergency rooms 
for drug-related incidents and 2,124 people were participating in 
Louisville-area drug treatment programs.

"I know that the disproportionate effect here has caused a strain, but it 
has also obviously caused the creation of some remarkable institutions. We 
are aware that these institutions are under strain," Walters said, adding 
that this strain is what led the federal government to create the new program.

With the Access to Recovery program, those suffering from substance abuse 
will be given vouchers that will allow them to receive the treatment they 
need at a center participating in the program. States will be able to 
receive grant money and get their centers involved by submitting proposals.

The $600 million for the program would be used to reimburse participating 
centers for treating patients with vouchers.

Walters said the Access to Recovery program will help progress Bush's plan 
to increase substance abuse treatment funding by $1.6 billion over the next 
five years.

Press Secretary Jennifer de Vallance said if the plan is approved by the 
federal appropriations committee this fall the program could begin in early 
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom