Drug Treatment:

Some Clinics Not Meeting Goal of Prompt Treatment for Intravenous Drug Users

HRD-90-80BR: Published: Apr 30, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) extent to which programs receiving alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health services (ADMS) block grant funds provided timely treatment for intravenous (IV) drug users; and (2) Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) oversight of state efforts to implement those provisions.

GAO found that: (1) states generally implemented the five IV drug abuse treatment provisions of the Anti-Drug Abuse Amendments Act of 1988, but some clinics did not always provide drug treatment within the required 7 days; (2) local providers did not consistently conduct outreach activities under the provision that required such services; (3) HHS relied on the states' interpretation of the timely drug treatment provision when administering the ADMS block grant program; (4) states interpreted the timely drug treatment provision, requiring treatment within 7 days, as a broad goal; and (5) HHS did not require states to provide sufficient information to measure their progress.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HHS revised its reporting system to collect information that measures individual states' progress in providing reatment for IV drug abusers within 7 days of request. Under the uniform state application process, states are asked how they: (1) monitor the adequacy of efforts to meet the treatment needs of IV drug users; and (2) ensure that IV drug users be accepted for treatment within 7 days.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should revise the HHS reporting system to ensure that it collects sufficient information that measures individual states' progress in meeting the goal of providing IV drug abusers treatment within 7 days of request.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services


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