Treatment for Substance Use Disorder: the Critical Role of Texas Medicaid and Federal Block Grants

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All Texans living with substance use disorders should be able to access the treatment and supports they need, regardless of their income. As Texas tries to tackle the issue of substance use disorders across the state, CPPP has created a new brief that explains the key role of Medicaid and federal block grants and provides steps state leaders can take to improve access to treatment services.

The recent surge in opioid-related addiction and deaths across the United States is bringing new attention to long-standing inadequate access to publicly funded treatment programs for substance use disorder (SUD), especially for low-income and uninsured people. Today’s need for SUD treatment and recovery support services is critical, with a record 63,600 people having died from drug overdoses nationwide in 2016.

House and Senate committees of the Texas Legislature are studying access to SUD treatment during this interim year. The committee discussions give Texans an opportunity to educate lawmakers, and for all of us to learn about the problem and how we can improve the futures of Texans living with SUD, their families and their communities.

When low-income adults in Texas receive publicly funded treatment for a substance use disorder, their care generally comes from two potential funding sources: (1) Texas Medicaid and/or (2) the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) federal block grant. Unfortunately, only a fraction of those in need are treated by these programs today.

Our new brief provides an overview of the role of Texas Medicaid and federal block grants in addressing SUD among adults, and identifies promising policy solutions that could dramatically improve access to treatment and long-term recovery services for Texans with substance use disorders of all kinds.

Monica Villarreal joined the Center in 2016 as a Hogg Mental Health Policy Fellow. She has previously worked on advocacy for disability issues and has policy experience from working at Disability Rights Texas and the American institutes for Research. Villarreal is a native of Monterrey Mexico and moved to Austin in 2010 to attend school at the University of Texas at Austin where she received a bachelor’s degree in Government and Latin American Studies and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

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