Drug and Alcohol Abuse:

Billions Spent Annually for Treatment and Prevention Activities

HEHS-97-12: Published: Oct 8, 1996. Publicly Released: Oct 8, 1996.

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Bernice Steinhardt
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the financial support provided for substance abuse and treatment activities by federal, state, and local governments and the private sector.

GAO found that: (1) federal funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention activities increased from $2.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 1990 to $4.4 billion in FY 1994; (2) the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Veterans Affairs provided 83 percent of total federal funding for treatment and prevention activities for FY 1994; (3) numerous programs in 16 federal agencies covered a broad range of treatment and prevention services and often targeted specific populations; (4) treatment services included diagnostic assessment, detoxification, and counseling, while prevention activities usually included providing information and education about alternatives to and consequences of alcohol abuse and illicit drug use; (5) state, county, and local governments' total expenditures for treatment and prevention activities increased from about $1.3 billion in FY 1990 to about $1.6 billion in FY 1994; and (6) although data on private-sector funding for substance abuse treatment are very limited, available sources indicate funding of more than $1 billion in 1993.

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