Substance Abuse Services Commission:
Providing A Blueprint for Change in Maine
2010 Report Card on Maine Substance Abuse Services (PDF) from the Maine Substance Abuse Services Commission
In 2006, Join Together, a program of the Boston University School of Public Health, published its Blueprint for the States: Policies to Improve the Ways States Organize and Deliver Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Treatment. This document was the culmination of the work of a national policy panel, led by former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.
A key point noted in its introduction is that, “[S]tate governments bear the financial burden of the consequences of drugs and alcohol in our nation, spending over 13 percent of their budgets on problems related to drug and alcohol use”. (1)
However, the report notes that, "less than four percent of this is spent on prevention and treatment, while more than 96 percent pays for the avoidable social and physical consequences that result from our failure to apply what we know about how to prevent and treat substance use problems." (2) These costs include prison, court, police, child-welfare, and Medicaid expenditures for treating medical problems related to addictive illnesses.
The Maine Substance Abuse Services Commission (SASC) has endorsed this document and its key recommendations for creating effective alcohol and drug policies that will save lives, reduce crime, restore families, and ultimately save state dollars.
As a first step in addressing these recommendations, the SASC is initiating a State Report Card to provide a level of measurement and accountability that will allow for a consistent review of the system of substance use prevention and treatment in Maine. This information will allow for a baseline of outcome data by which we can assess the current state of the system, and measure the impacts of possible recommended changes over time.
The Blueprint panel's key recommendation called for “making governors, state legislative leaders and chief judges personally accountable for developing and implementing a state strategy requiring all public agencies affected by alcohol and drug problems to work together in a unified strategy that promotes treatment and prevention”. (3)
By starting with outcome data and building from a new level of accountability, the SASC hopes to bring together the many key stakeholders in all branches of state government in Maine that are impacted by drug and alcohol abuse. Together we can build on this new blueprint to create intervention strategies that make a real difference in the lives of those affected while also strengthening Maine's economy.
1. Blueprint for the States, 2006 Join Together, p.6.
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