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Mental Health Advocates Rally Against Cuts

March 12th, 2009 by flanews

Mental health and substance abuse workers are asking lawmakers to spare them from the budget ax.

The state spends 26 million dollars on mental health care and substance abuse programs every year. Advocates for the programs say the money is used to reduce crime and to help the mentally ill and drug attics re-enter the work force. Bob Sharpe, the president of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health said if lawmakers cut his budget, sick people will end up in prison.

Well have more forensic placement, well have more jail admissions, well have more recidivism in prisons, we know 30 communities would lose services. We know 22 facilities will close or lose a portion of programs that they provide to their communities, said Sharpe.

Florida ranks 48th in the nation for per capita spending on mental health services, and 35th for state funding for substance abuse treatment programs.

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