National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Should Make Greater Efforts To Support Treatment Demonstration Projects

HRD-81-131: Published: Jul 31, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1981.

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GAO reviewed selected activities of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) pertaining to the treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol abusers and alcoholics to assess the management and effectiveness of the directly funded treatment grant program.

An NIAAA investment in projects to enhance broader alternative funding sources for alcoholism treatment has contributed to the growth in treatment funds available from State and local governments and third-party payers and a reduction in the NIAAA portion of the total funds spent on alcohol abuse and alcoholism treatment. However, many of the NIAAA directly supported projects are dependent on NIAAA as a major funding source and the loss of these funds as envisioned in proposed legislation could have a significant effect on the projects. The major Federal response to alleviating the alcoholism problem has been a formula grant program to assist States and a project grant and contract program. This program provides financial assistance for local community programs designed to meet the needs of special target populations. The program also enables NIAAA to fund demonstration and evaluation projects leading to improved prevention and treatment methods. NIAAA should make greater use of its project grant authority to support treatment demonstration/evaluation projects. Proposed legislation would provide that the Federal response to alcohol abuse and alcoholism concentrate on issues that are national in scope, give the States greater authority and flexibility, and encourage greater participation by the private sector. NIAAA would be limited to addressing national issues, providing technical assistance to States, and supporting research programs. The NIAAA authority to support projects aimed at treating and rehabilitating alcohol abusers would be limited.

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