"Individual lives, families, our communities and society as a whole are being negatively impacted by substance misuse and abuse. The more widespread substance abuse becomes, the more it affects all of us. Opiate and other addictions are causing a public health crisis that is costing the state, and our citizens in a number of ways. This problem is compounded when those dealing with addiction also have mental health issues. Crime, violence, family disruption, and child abuse and neglect (requiring that DCYF open 'founded' cases, provide family supports and services, and out of home foster placement for children), all increase due to addiction. Individuals with significant addiction issues may lose their ability to maintain employment and thus, the ability to provide for their own needs. Addiction monopolizes health care resources (emergency responders; emergency rooms, etc.) and increases health care costs. The economic toll all of this takes on our state is huge, and though solutions will require resources; failing to provide those resources will cost us more in the long run. Failing to adequately treat addiction and mental illness puts us in a 'pay now, or pay later' situation. We need to address both the substance abuse and mental health issues that are problematic in our society, by providing better prevention, intervention, treatment and support. We need more treatment providers, and better access to treatment, both in-patient and out-patient, and we need to be able to provide services at the community level. We need to increase available beds, and make those beds readily accessible. We must develop support systems for clients that foster long term recovery and health. Though funding is required to do these things, it should be looked at as an investment rather than an expense. We have already seen that the alternative is ultimately more costly."
Source: Citizens Count Issue Survey 2018