Pubdate: Wed, 11 Aug 2004
Source: Ashland City Times (TN)
Copyright: 2004 Ashland City Times


Gov. Phil Bredesen has announced the state of Tennessee will receive $17.8
million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services to aid in the fight against methamphetamine and other drugs.

Tennessee is one of 14 states to be awarded funds through the latest round
of federal "Access to Recovery" grants.

During the next three years, the state Department of Health will receive
about $5.9 million annually in grant funds that will be used to expand
access to treatment for adults with substance abuse problems.

In making the federal grant application, state officials noted the recent
and rapid rise of methamphetamine in Tennessee.

Methamphetamine, a powerfully addictive stimulant that affects the central
nervous system, is produced in clandestine laboratories across Tennessee
using relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. The drug has been
on the rise in recent years.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that Tennessee now
accounts for 75 percent of meth lab seizures in the Southeast.

"Our state is struggling with a serious substance abuse problem," Bredesen
said. "This federal funding will provide additional resources that will be
critical in combating meth and drug abuse in general.

A 2000 study by the Community Health Research Group indicates that only 20%
of Tennessee citizens who need treatment for drug and alcohol abuse are
receiving it.

The Access to Recovery Program provides vouchers to cover the cost of
treatment and recovery services from approved providers.

The program provides for a wide range of treatment options, including
faith-based and community-based services.

Clients seeking services will be screened through drug courts, local health
departments and authorized treatment providers. Those participating must
submit to random drug and alcohol screens and agree to general monitoring
throughout their recovery period.

A portion of the funding will go to rural communities, which are home to
about one-third of Tennessee's population.

Many of these areas, which are being hard hit by meth and other drugs,
currently offer only limited access to treatment and recovery services.

"This funding will help support vital services in the Appalachian region and
other parts of our state in which the methamphetamine epidemic is causing
serious damage," said Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Kenneth Robinson.

Robinson noted the state currently provides funding to only about two-thirds
of Tennessee's 81 licensed alcohol and drug treatment providers.

"Our goal is to use this new money to close the gap and expand our network
to as many eligible providers as possible.''
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh