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Proposed Budget Cuts $198 Million from SAMHSA

By February 27, 2008

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President Bush's proposed budget for 2009 calls for a $198 million reduction in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, taking aim at several programs the administration says are not effective or not performing. Only a very few programs were recommended for increases in their budget for the next fiscal year.

Overall, the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be increased by $29 billion, but those increases are due to mandatory increases in Medicare and Medicaid spending. The agency's discretionary spending budget would be reduced by $2.2 billion.

HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said "The budget makes targeted reductions in areas where grantees have not demonstrated improved health outcomes, grant periods are ending, activities can be supported through other funding streams, or efficiencies can be realized."

In other words, programs which have not been found to work, by the government's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), will lose their grant money in 2009.

Targeted for Budget Cuts

Some of the programs targeted for a budget reduction include:

  • Drug Free Communities Program
  • Programs of Regional and National Significance
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Center for Mental Health Services

The Recovery Community Support Programs and the STOP Underage Drinking program are targeted for elimination under the proposed budget.

Bob Curley of Join Together, a treatment and recovery advocacy group, outlines details of the proposed cuts in an article, Bush's 2009 Budget Cuts $198 Million from SAMHSA. Curley says some of the favorite programs of the White House were designated for budget increases in spite of findings by PART that they were woefully ineffective.

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