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Monday, October 24, 2011

Money Well Spent: Prevention



 Why Must We Spend More To Save Our Kids?

"Ohio's spending on substance abuse's consequences totaled $4.9 billion,
roughly 12% of state spending in 2005, 
while spending on prevention, treatment and research
only accounted for 0.3% of the overall state budget."

For every dollar spent on substance abuse, 

1 cent went to prevention, 
1 cent to treatment, 
7 cents to regulation and compliance, and 
90 cents to cover the associated burden on public services. 

This report: "Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets" by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is the result of a three-year study to assess the costs of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse at all levels of government.

When considering Federal, State and local budgets combined, the report put spending related to substance abuse in Ohio at nearly $5.4 billion, or nearly $469 per capita. ("Substance Abuse Costs States, U.S.," The Business Journal of Youngstown Ohio, June 10 2009)

This report clearly illustrates the astounding impact untreated substance abuse and addiction has on our state's bottom line, said Angela Cornelius Dawson, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. While the economic forces that are driving budget decisions are out of our control, it is imperative that we focus our efforts on strategic investments that can save our state money. Alcohol and drug addiction services are one such investment that continues to demonstrate a positive return.

In fact, the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services 
and the National Institute on Drug Abuse both estimate that 
every dollar spent on prevention 
saves $7 in related expenses.


How Our Spending Can Save Lives and Money

The ADAMHS (Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services) board is proposing a $1 million levy for 5 years to be put on the November 8th ballot. The levy will generate $950,000 per year for prevention education in all of Scioto County.

Sounds great. After all, currently there is less that $3.00 per child available in Scioto County for prevention education in the schools. 

 BUT... 

I know: What about

THE COST?

How can we afford to spend more in these times of economic hardships? The levy will cost a property owner 10 cents per $100.00 of property value/$1.00 per $1000.00. $4.17 per month for the owner of a home valued at $50,000.

The truth is...

HOW CAN WE NOT AFFORD 

THE COST?

Scioto County is the epicenter for prescription drug abuse. It is the #1 cause of accidental death among our young people. We may not like it, but we cannot ignore the facts. The last couple years, we have made great strides to improve conditions; however, more emphasis on prevention is desperately needed.

Consider the continuing risk of drug abuse among Scioto youth. Drug abusing youth have powerful influence over others. Negative peer pressure and social influences related to drugs have had devastating effects on countless youth and their families. Now, we have the obligation to assure that all Scioto County youth receive the best educational program to protect themselves (and all of us) from the ravages of abuse.

It is time we face a sobering reality: our children are not receiving the tools they need to fight the many pressures of living in our drug-riddled communities. Prevention education must start at a young age and must continue throughout school years. We can't afford to allow ignorance and indifference to weaken our resolve to fight abuse.

Our children are our greatest resource and our promise for a brighter future. Well-educated children can make sound decisions that will lead to healthy, happy lives. The implementation of evidence-based curriculum will provide prevention education to sow the seeds of knowledge in our youth essential to fostering their lifelong positive growth. 

Prevention education will pay huge dividends. It will do the following:

1. Reduce the rise of drug experimentation,

2. Reduce drug overdose,

3. Reduce academic and behavioral problems,

4. Reduce crime and incarceration,

5. Reduce the costs of long term health care of drug dependent individuals,

6. Reduce the number of babies born addicted,

7. Reduce the number of those who seek addiction treatment, and

8. Reduce other costs associated with drug abuse including lost wages.


The children in our community must learn about the dangers of drug abuse at an early age, and everyone needs to support these youth in their most formative years. The Scioto County Coalition of Drug Prevention wants to Save Our Kids through prevention education. Join the cause.The expense will save both money and the lives of our precious children.
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