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Mental Health Groups Lobby Against Cuts

February 10th, 2009 by flanews

Mental health and drug addiction advocacy groups are lobbying lawmakers to save treatment services from spending cuts.

The groups are at the state capitol today and tomorrow for the annual Behavioral Health Days. Florida is 48th in the nation in per capita spending on mental health service and 35th in substance abuse treatment. Florida Council for Community Mental Health President Bob Sharpe said if the state doesnt fund treatment programs, it will pay higher cost to lockup people who cant afford help.

When they make a decision not to fund mental health services, its not that they are making a decision not to fund something. What they have chosen instead is to fund prisons, jails, hospitals and other deep end services, said Sharpe.

The groups say if lawmakers cut their budgets in March, 24,000 people with mental illness and substance abuse problems will lose essential care.

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