Before the Senate Finance Committee
May 10, 2012
Chairman Widener, Vice Chair Jones, Ranking Minority Member Sawyer, and members of the Senate Finance Committee. My name is Marcie Seidel and I am the executive director of Drug Free Action Alliance.
Drug Free Action Alliance is a statewide non-profit agency, which helps develop the statewide prevention infrastructure to reduce substance abuse through collaborations with local communities and state level departments and organizations.
The agency works to make environmental changes which results in reduced substance use and abuse and increased public awareness of substance abuse and its harmful effects.
Drug Free Action Alliance works with more than 100 community coalitions and more than 46 colleges, universities and community colleges throughout Ohio.
We develop programs, provide trainings, resources, and technical support reaching more than 30,000 Ohioans each year who in return reach out to their individual prevention networks.
Although we have done good work reducing opiate abuse and building a youth-led prevention network where young people are being encouraged to educate their peers and to advocate for healthy, drug-free lifestyles, there is still much to do.
I am here today representing those in our network to ask you to restore the critical needed dollars to the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services budget. ODADAS’ work is more critical than ever as we face an increase in substance abuse and its related problems.
Although numbers are improving, the opiate crisis taxes Ohio’s resources as we struggle to save lives and communities.
Young people using marijuana is on the rise. In a recent respected national survey from the University of Michigan, we know that marijuana continues to be on the rise among youth with the increase of daily or near daily use increasing significantly in 8th, 10th and 12th grade students. And research tells us that one of six youth people using marijuana will become addicted to it. i
We believe that this will become even worse if either of the two marijuana ballot initiatives pass in our state, possibly being on the ballot in November.
In 2010, underage customers consumed 26.3% of all alcohol sold in Ohio. ii
In 2009, 4,178 youth 12- 20 years old were admitted for alcohol treatment in Ohio, accounting for 11% of all treatment admissions for alcohol abuse in the state. iii
The burdens of drug, alcohol and tobacco use adds 10% or $41 billion to the already strained budgets of schools across the nation. iv
Over 60% of alcoholics, 74% of heavy drinkers and 66% of drug users are employed. Studies show employers suffer significant losses due to substance abuse, including decreased productivity, theft, excessive use of medical benefits and on‐the‐job injuries. Each substance abuser costs their employer between $7,000 and $25,000 annually.v Too many times, employers can’t even fill their employment needs because candidates cannot pass drug testing.
The abuse of alcohol and other drugs takes a huge societal toll depleting precious dollars to repair and restore lives and leaving Ohio’s economy far short of its vibrant potential.
We are fully aware that cuts have to be made to balance the state budget.
We are also aware that prevention and treatment services can be difficult to substantiate and often is discarded in light of other demanding problems.
Economically speaking, supporting substance abuse services is sound public policy.
In 2009, two Iowa State University researchers did a study showing that for every dollar spent on evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs, there was a nearly a $10 return for that one dollar.
Additionally, for every $100 Ohio spent shouldering the burden of substance abuse, Ohio spent $1.00 to treat it and only 40 cents to prevent it. vi
Yet, prevention is cost effective with a demonstrated return:
- Effective school‐based prevention programs save $18 for every dollar spent. vii
- Comprehensive community interventions save $147 for each dollar spent. viii
We respectfully ask you to consider this information when making this difficult choice.
Your forward thinking about retaining dollars for alcohol and other drugs will ease the burden in years to come, leaving a strong workforce and a lasting legacy for all Ohioans.
Thank you, again, for giving me the chance to testify before you. I would be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
i. 2011 Monitoring the Future , The University of Michigan
ii. Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), September 2011.
iii. Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Treatment Episode Data Set. (2011). Substance Abuse Treatment by Primary Substance of Abuse, According to Sex, Age, Race, and Ethnicity, 2009. Available [On-line]: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/SAMHDA/studies/30462.
iv. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
v. Small Business Administration
vi. Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budget, May 2009. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
vii. Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost‐Benefit Analysis, 2009. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration