Pubdate: Tue, 11 Oct 2005
Source: Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Ken DeCerchio


For people addicted to drugs and alcohol, taking the first step on the
road to recovery may seem impossible. Addiction is a dark and lonely
place, with seemingly no way out.

Even for those who admit they have a problem and want to overcome
their addictions, the stigma associated with substance abuse can be a
barrier to seeking help.

The Department of Children and Families wants to help Floridians with
chemical dependency seek treatment. As part of the department's effort
to increase public focus on treatment, we observed National Alcohol
and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September.

Treatment and recovery work. It saves lives and is an important
economic investment. For every $1 invested in substance-abuse
treatment, the state saves $4 to $7 in drug-related criminal justice

When health-care savings are added into that calculation, the savings
jumps to $12 for every $1 spent.

It's also important to recognize the impact of treating prisoners,
because addiction is often at the root of crime. The Department of
Corrections indicates that 81 percent of those who receive treatment
while in prison are not recommitted.

DCF recently implemented Access to Recovery, which will enable it to
provide services to 8,000 additional adults over the next three years.

Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin are among the counties
to receive a portion of the $20.4 million funding for this program.

DCF is implementing ATR in partnership with the Florida Alcohol and
Drug Abuse Association, Florida Faith-Based Association, Southern
Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center and NET Institute.


Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental

Florida Department of Children & Families

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