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Fact Sheet: Providing Help to Heal Americans Struggling with Addiction

January 30, 2003

Today's Action

  • In his State of the Union Address, President Bush announced a three-year, $600 million federal treatment initiative to help addicted Americans find needed treatment from the most effective programs, including faith-based and community-based organizations. This new investment will make treatment available to help 300,000 more Americans combat their addiction over the next three years, by providing vouchers to individuals identified in their communities as needing assistance. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy today released additional details of the President's plan.

Background on the President's Treatment Initiative

  • Last year, approximately 100,000 men and women seeking treatment for drug addiction did not receive the help they needed. The President's plan is designed to complement existing programs and ensure that Americans struggling with addiction have access to a comprehensive continuum of effective treatment and support service options, including faith-based and community-based programs, and ensure that these options are more readily available.
  • The President's treatment initiative is designed to help any individual with a drug or alcohol problem who: 1) is without private treatment coverage; and 2) has been assessed as needing assistance by a healthcare professional in an emergency room, health clinic, school or similar setting. This includes any Medicaid beneficiary who has been excluded from receiving treatment in residential treatment settings.
  • The program will ensure access and accountability for alcohol and drug abuse services by allowing individuals greater choices among appropriate programs. It would enable eligible individuals to use federal alcohol and drug abuse vouchers to obtain help at all effective treatment organizations, including faith-based and community-based organizations. This would expand treatment utilization and accountability, thereby broadening and strengthening the current system.
  • The program would provide a way for the Federal Government to monitor state implementation of the program to prevent fraud and abuse; ensure quality of care; and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. It would also enable nonprofit and proprietary organizations to have a greater opportunity to participate through full and open competition.
  • Under the President's plan, people who are seeking drug and alcohol treatment and support services will be assessed, presented with a voucher to pay for a range of appropriate care and services, and then referred to a variety of providers who offer that care.
  • States will work with a consortium of public and private entities to jointly administer the program, including health care providers, faith-based and community-based organizations, workplaces, and schools to help alcohol and drug abusers receive vouchers for the treatment and support services that are best suited to their individual needs. States would be required to monitor the outcomes and costs of the voucher program and to make adjustments based on the extent to which improved client outcomes are or are not achieved in a cost-effective manner.
  • For many Americans seeking treatment, the transforming power of faith will now be available to heal those suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. This new program will serve as a model for states in administering other Department of Health and Human Services alcohol and drug abuse grant funding permissible under proposed Charitable Choice regulations.

For more information on the President's initiatives, please visit

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Providing Help to Heal Americans Struggling with Addiction Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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