Even though Gov. Corbett recently received criticism for linking Pennsylvania's lagging job growth to the failure of potential employees to pass drug tests, it is true that, according to a 2011 Department of Justice's National Drug Intelligence Center report, lost productivity costs the nation over $120 billion annually.
A primary challenge in getting individuals with addictions on to the road to recovery and productivity is adequate funding. But a Corbett administration official recently noted that only one in eight state residents with addiction issues can access proper treatment due to the lack of money for treatment programs. These programs and our community have been negatively impacted by resource shortfalls for quite some time.
The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is updating many of the outdated regulatory constraints that restrict innovation and is working to reduce the administrative costs, making it possible to devote more to direct treatment. Even with this, however, there is only so far a dollar can be stretched.
So if the governor sees substance abuse as a anchor that is weighing down the economy of the state and a productive workforce, then he should increase funding for treatment programs. Getting people into recovery and the job market is a good investment strategy for our community.
Terence McSherry, president and chief executive officer, NorthEast Treatment Centers, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
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