Sunday, April 18, 2010

State contributes to the very problems it tries to prevent

In the New York State OASAS Prevention Strategic plan it reads on page 5 in part:

"In New York alone, it is estimated that annual state spending share due to the burden of substance abuse and addiction was over $13 billion (NCASA, 2009). Almost all of this state spending addressed the related health, criminal justice and educational consequences, while only 3 percent was spent on addiction prevention and treatment."

When you think about what the state takes in on taxes on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and from the lottery, 13 billion is a piddling amount. It seems very paradoxical that the state makes money on feeding peoples addictions and abuse and then turns around an spends billions of dollars on the negative consequences.

From a public health perspective the prevalence of alcoholism in a give neighborhood is directly correlated with the number of retail alcohol retail outlets per square mile.

From a public health perspective the amount of a toxic stimulus in a given population is directly related to the amount of disease. In this case access to addictive substances and activities contributes to higher prevalence. The state has enormous control over the access to these substances and activities and yet voters often don't connect the dots.

As our understanding of public health models and environmental strategies increase, we will be better able to prevent the development of addictive disorders and limit the negative consequences for our communities.

This is article #2 in a series on Prevention strategic plan.

No comments: