August 6, 2012

Washington county utilizes sales tax to aid substance abuse efforts

In King County, Washington, they’ve found one way to reduce the involvement of people with substance abuse disorders. A portion of all sales tax in the country collected is dedicated to substance abuse, mental health and therapeutic court services.

The Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Plan (MIDD) was passed by the King County Council in 2007. Since that time, according to the plan’s project manager, statistics show it has helped prevent and reduce the involvement of people with substance use disorders and mental illness in the criminal justice system.

“We are seeing people recovering from substance abuse and mental illness with the help of programs funded by MIDD,” says Andrea LaFazia-Geraghty, MSW, MPH, of the King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division.

According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, MIDD is funded through a one-tenth of one cent sales tax. King County, which includes Seattle, raises an estimated $45 million per year through the tax, LaFazia-Geraghty reports.

Some MIDD-funded programs include:
•    Drug courts – one for youth and one for adults
•    Connecting people with treatment if they screen positive for alcohol use in a hospital screening and brief intervention program
•    Reimbursing continuing education fees for chemical dependency professionals, in an effort to increase the number of professionals in the county
•    Providing clinical assessments by chemical dependency professionals in the juvenile justice system
•    Connecting programs on domestic violence and sexual assault with providers of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

Click here to read the full story at The Partnership for Drugfree.org.

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