Progress and Problems in Treating Alcohol Abusers

HRD-76-163: Published: Apr 28, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1977.

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Although progress has been made in the treatment of alcohol abusers as a result of Federal and State efforts, problems still exist in the development of a cohesive national program.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and State planning for treatment programs should concentrate more on: (1) obtaining information on the size of the alcohol-abusing population, its demographic characteristics, and geographic distribution; (2) updating inventories of and capacity data on existing treatment facilities; (3) allocation of funds on the basis of program need as well as population and State financial needs; (4) development of measurable program objectives, and (5) improvement of communication between the Institute and the States. In addition, the Institute needs more formal coordinating procedures for obtaining assistance from other Federal agencies. Progress has been made in better program and project evaluations. Until standards are refined and made final, however, no conclusion can be drawn as to whether changes in drinking patterns are reasonable in relation to the program's costs. Since project objectives were not expressed in quantitative terms and target dates, progress in program-goals achievement was not measurable.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should clarify the purpose and scope of the supplemental security income mandatory treatment provisions, as well as explore the need for legislation requiring fuller coverage of alcohol treatment services. The need to amend P.L. 91-616 to provide Federal funding for nonrevenue-producing services should also be explored by Congress.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of HEW should direct the Institute and encourage the States to make improvements in: planning and evaluation processes, fund allocation procedures, coordination among Federal agencies, the program monitoring and evaluation system, client intake and referral procedures, increasing reimbursements from public and private health insurers, and confidentiality regulations to permit evaluation of client referral mechanisms.

    Agency Affected:


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