President's 2004 Budget Proposes "Access to Recovery"
By Rebecca A. Clay
President George W. Bush's proposed Fiscal Year 2004 budget for SAMHSA continues
the President's commitment to reduce illicit drug use through the
creation of a new treatment-services voucher program called "Access
to Recovery." Other priorities include increases in mental
health services for children and homeless individuals and an increase
in program management dollars that will be used to maintain support
for data collection.
The overall budget proposal for SAMHSA totals $3.4 billion-a net
increase of $198 million or 6.2 percent over the Fiscal Year 2003
"The President clearly recognizes how serious drug addiction
and mental health problems are and how important treatment is,"
said SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W. "His
proposed budget supports the matrix of programs and principles that
guides our priorities and decisions here at SAMHSA."
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The proposed budget requests $2.5 billion for substance abuse prevention
and treatment activities-a 10-percent increase over last year.
The "Access to Recovery" initiative continues to fulfill
the President's promise to invest 1.6 billion new dollars in addiction
treatment over 5 years. Of that $1.6 billion, the President proposed
$600 million over the next 3 years for this initiative in his State
of the Union address. The first $200 million installment is included
in the President's proposed 2004 budget for SAMHSA.
In the first year, the program would provide vouchers to approximately
100,000 people who need alcohol or drug treatment services. In addition
to increasing treatment capacity, this new state voucher program
would increase consumer choice and access to a comprehensive continuum
of options, including faith-based and community-based programs.
To help people who use drugs but aren't necessarily dependent on
them, the budget provides $50 million to continue the State Targeted
Capacity Expansion program launched in 2003. The program would allow
states to expand screening and brief intervention services in communities.
The budget also requests $1.8 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention
and Treatment Block Grant program, which helps support more than
10,500 prevention and treatment organizations around the country.
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The President requested $834 million for mental health services.
The budget proposal would increase funding for Children's Mental
Health Services to $107 million, a level that would support services
for almost 17,000 children and adolescents with serious emotional
disorders and their families.
The proposal also increases funding for the Projects for Assistance
in Transition from Homelessness program to $50 million, to bring
147,000 homeless people into treatment for mental illness and substance
abuse as well as to provide housing. In addition, SAMHSA will be
a major contributor to an interagency effort called the Collaborative
Initiative to End Chronic Homelessness (See SAMHSA
The budget also includes an increase for homeless "policy
academies" that bring state policymakers together to improve
service coordination at the state and local levels.
Other budget items include: a New Freedom Initiative demonstration
project with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow
selected states to establish home- and community-based alternatives
for children who previously would have been served in Medicaid-funded
residential treatment centers; grants to assist states in developing
programs for individuals with co-occurring mental and addictive
disorders; and grants to help states decrease use of seclusion and
restraints in mental health facilities.
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The Fiscal Year 2004 budget includes $85 million to support increased
contribution to the Agency's national surveys. The request includes
savings of $2 million associated with the President's Management
Agenda. The reduction reflects anticipated savings from future competitive
sourcing of commercial activities, as well as savings in other administrative
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said,
"The fact that the budget contains so much investment in the
health and welfare of Americans demonstrates President Bush's unwavering
commitment to the well-being of our citizens, including those most
in need. With this budget, the President recognizes that America's
greatest asset is its people, and he invests in making its people
as strong and healthy as possible."
For more information, go to http://hhs.gov/budget/docbudget.htm
and click on "FY 2004 Budget in Brief."
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