People in and seeking recovery face many barriers to long-term recovery. Some of those barriers can be overcome with the help of mutual support groups, family, friends, and community resources. But many barriers exist that are beyond the capacity of a single person in recovery.
- More community collaboration
- Access to healthcare and treatment
- Resources for returning citizens
- Funding for existing and new programs
- More advocacy to reduce stigma
1. Funding Restoration
In 2009 the Georgia General Assembly made huge cuts in the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ (DBHDD) Office of Addictive Disease (OAD) budget which produced a massive step backwards in prevention resources, treatment capacity and recovery support services. The following $19,576,732 cuts to Georgia’s substance use disorder state budget occurred in 2010:
- Substance abuse prevention services -$1,238,77
- Child and adolescent addictive diseases services -$6,751,895
- Funding for “non-medically necessary community services” -$1,119,388
- Funding for opioid maintenance therapy and methamphetamine treatment -$2,568,628
- Cuts to contracts and specialty services for adults and children -$2,340,304
- Funding for criminal justice-specific interventions -$1,180,145
- TANF Funding for women’s treatment capacity -$4,377,600
These cuts have yet to be restored by the state. After the effects of these cuts became drastically evident by the growing opioid epidemic in Georgia and lack of support and infrastructure to combat this epidemic, the federal government has stepped in with STR funding. We will continue to advocate to our state legislators to play their part in combating the epidemic by providing financial support for services for those suffering with SUD and their families.
2. Comprehensive Reform
GCSA will continue to advocate for a comprehensive reform of how people with substance use disorder are treated. We do this through testifying at legislative hearings, participating on policy committees, and rallying individuals to speak out about recovery in communities while advocating their legislators. GCSA believes in a recovery oriented system of care in which it is understood that treatment is not always the solution. We do advocate for more treatment services but we also advocate for more services to be widely available in the communities in which people live and thrive.
3. Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
After years of advocacy efforts by GCSA, Georgian’s for a Healthy Future (GHF), and other agencies, on July 1, 2017 Georgia’s Medicaid codes for SBIRT were activated for health care settings. GCSA, in a long standing partnership with GHF, will lead outreach and education efforts to promote the news to providers around the state. This includes:
- Expand the use of SBIRT or other prevention and early intervention strategies with young people in schools and health care settings.
- Promote the use of peers and non-physician counselors in carrying out the strategies of SBIRT
- Defend coverage and benefits in the Medicaid program and private insurance that provide a platform for SBIRT.
Make An Impact
Jeff Breedlove serves as Communications and Policy Director for The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. Jeff is at your service to help you advocate and educate for Recovery in Georgia. Contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org