Authorities seek more state funding for SUD treatment in NY prisons

Authorities seek more state funding for SUD treatment in NY prisons

Nick recently got arrested for the ninth time in a matter of four years. The cause of his latest arrest was no different from the earlier eight times – drugs. Nick’s is a story shared by a large number of people in the United States who are languishing in prisons for years due to their drug-related offenses. Ironically, most of them suffer from substance use disorders (SUD).

America is no stranger to the criminal justice problems that are rife with drug abuse cases. It is worth noting that 80 percent of the offenders abuse drugs or alcohol and nearly 50 percent of prisoners are clinically addicted. Comprehending the gravity of the situation, representatives from the New York State Association of Counties and the New York State Sheriff’s Association along with the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors (CLMHD) called on the state leaders and emphasized the need for state funding.

They emphasized on the need for increasing the budget allocation to prisons for the treatment of SUD in prisons and the inmates’ rehabilitation post release. They suggested the state policy makers to allocate $12.8 million to mental health local government units on a year on year basis, to address this gap in treatment and bolster the efforts of the jails. They were supported in this demand by several bipartisan legislators as well.

Need for more funds

Apart from the fact that a vast number of inmates are suffering from substance use disorders, there is another cause of concern: almost 60 to 80 percent of the drug abusers commit a new crime – usually drug-induced – as soon as they are released from the prison. Evidently, incarceration doesn’t seem to serve the purpose it is meant to under the criminal justice system. The recidivism rate is quite high, as a massive 95 percent of the offenders go back to using drugs soon after they are released from prison.

Imprisoning an offender is not just to teach him/her a lesson, but also to help reform and attain sobriety. Yet, it is a distressing state of affairs that there is no funding for substance use treatment services in 51 percent of the prisons and 53 percent of  them are incapable of enabling the transition of addicted inmates back into the society as functional individuals. Illegal drug use and incarceration cost America billions of dollars in criminal justice expenses, eventually leading to lost productivity, loss of property and victimization.

Based on its experience, the New York Sheriff’s Association brought to light how it came across prisoners who have serious medical, mental health and substance abuse issues. While the jail authorities try their level best to help the inmates by “offering comprehensive addiction treatment and transition services,” they are often constrained by limited budgets and scarcity of appropriate mental health care providers and substance abuse counsellors.

Treatment in and out of jail

Individuals who are caught in the vicious cycle of addiction and recidivism, often also suffer from some form of mental illness. The presence of both – a mental illness and a substance use disorder – is referred to as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. A credible SUD treatment facility does not only focus on the addiction problems encountered by the individual, but also keeps a check on his/ her mental health.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any co-occurring disorders, it is advisable to seek necessary medical help before things spiral out of control. To know more about dual diagnosis treatment centers in your area, connect with the Dual Diagnosis Helpline. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-981-6047 or chat online with one of our representatives to know about the various treatment programs being offered by the best dual diagnosis centers in your vicinity.