Advocates seek stronger substance abuse treatment measures

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) Substance abuse costs Arkansas about $888 million annually, but just 6 percent of Arkansans who need help with a drug addiction actually receive treatment, according to two legislative task force reports.

State lawmakers are being urged to consider a number of measures in the upcoming legislative session to address the problem.

One of the task forces also asks the Legislature, which convenes Jan. 14, to support an expansion in Medicaid.

"We're spending a lot of money on treatment, but I think the key is prevention," said Sen. Mike Fletcher, D-Hot Springs, chairman of the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Prevention. "It's a lot cheaper to prevent it than to treat it, I think."

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