Should Texas taxpayers shoulder financial burden of drug abuse treatment?

Pratt on TexasFrom a story in the Austin American-Statesman headlined: “Treatment options for drug use severely lacking in Texas, experts say.”

The story by Mary Huber began with:

The consensus was clear at the state Capitol among criminal justice and Child Protective Services professionals facing the nation’s opioid crisis: Texas needs more treatment options.

Experts who work in courts, probation and the foster care system say people with substance use problems often suffer devastating consequences while trying to get into rehabilitation centers, including overdoses and arrests.

“We have quite a waiting list for services,” Doug Smith, a policy analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, told legislators. “In a lot of places, people are more likely to access services if they wear handcuffs first.”

Okay. Let us stipulate that Texas has a shortage of treatment options for drug addiction. First, why is this always looked at as something government should pay for using our money; making those of us who do not abuse drugs shoulder the burden for those who do?

And second, what is the authentic empirical data on the success of these programs?

Short of those who actually hit bottom and decide to change, I’ve been lead to believe, by those in the addiction field, that these expensive programs do not have a very strong rate of lasting effectiveness in and of themselves.

If that is true it is money wasted and we shouldn’t be burdened with paying for it.


  1. The best, most effective solution would be to include mandatory attendance to a 12 step addiction recovery program (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) in every prison and parole program. It is free, all volunteer, has very high success rates, and already exists everywhere. The expensive rehab centers are simply greasing palm in Austin looking to feed at the government trough.

  2. If more treatment options for addiction are needed in Texas, surely the market will note this need and work to fill the void. But, since this is a major newspaper reporting it, they are insisting that only government can do this, as usual.

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