Oregon is fighting the war on drugs by focusing on substance abuse treatment—and its efforts are paying off in reduced costs and saved lives. As prescription drug abuse becomes a growing problem, many states are amping up online prescription monitoring databases and trying to close down pill mills. Oregon tackled the problem early on by dramatically increasing spending on substance abuse treatment—from $11 million six years ago to $51 million annually now. The state Medicaid has covered addiction treatment since the mid-1990s, funding services like outpatient and medication-assisted treatments, detoxification and residential care.
The focus on treatment has undoubtedly saved lives. Oregon has a comparatively low drug overdose death rate—11.7 per 100,000 compared with 17.9 in Kentucky, another mostly rural state with a prescription drug abuse problem. Compared to Kentucky, Oregon admits twice as many drug users for treatment and is much more likely to provide intensive treatment. In Oregon, 10 percent of treatment admissions were to long-term, residential facilities, while the same was true for only 1.1 percent of treatment admissions in Kentucky.
Oregon officials say that funding substance abuse treatment pays off in reduced costs elsewhere. For instance, a program that provided addicted parents with residential treatment reunites kids with parents instead of pushing them into the foster program. The treatment program costs $10.4 million over two years but pays for itself in six months with reduced foster care costs.
If you or a loved one needs help for a substance abuse issue, we’re here for you. Email us or call us today: 1 888 671 9392.