Lately ID has seemed to be a miniature of the range of corrections sentencing concerns facing all the states, and here they have run into the old “prevention is better than treatment is better than incarceration” problem when their money is going into the incarceration and undermining the first two.
More than 1,000 struggling addicts who have asked for help are falling through the cracks. Meanwhile competent counselors are unable to treat them because of a shortfall in government funding, according to a legislative budget analysis.
That's been the trend since last summer.
The problem was so dire last year that local treatment programs were forced to shed staff. Today, the waiting list in Idaho is 809 people long, including 103 names from the Magic Valley. Poor addicts who asked for government treatment face a waiting list that can last up to a year, local treatment counselors say.
"There is not even close to enough money for everybody," said Sherri Molina, executive and clinical director of Sitman Inc., in Twin Falls. "I have had people drop off the backlog because they have been on it so long."
But Idahoans who used to believe in incarceration are now favoring programs that focus on addiction treatment. As the $2.7 million Idaho Meth Project advertising campaign begins and prisons bulge at great cost to taxpayers, treatment providers are forced to usher addicts into a long waiting list.
The problem, state reports show, is that after 90–days–of waiting for services, a large number of addicts–drop off the list–and regress into addiction.
That pretty well sums it up for most states.
[Here’s KY’s version, if you haven’t had enough.]