Governor Terry McAuliffe revealed that the biennial budget of 2019-2020 will include $76 million in funding to combat the opioid crisis.

Governor McAuliffe’s budget proposals for 2019-2020 will help to fight the opioid crisis in the state, as well as to improve behavioral health services provided by community services boards.

By investing in community-based services and the improvement of behavioral health services, the governor hopes to further combat the opioid epidemic by treating mental illnesses that are often the root cause of the problems of the many Virginians who are addicted to opioids and other highly addictive substances. The $76 million in funding will also help to expand access to drug courts and establish residential treatment programs designed to help non-violent offenders while also allowing state and local governments to hire more scientists for drug testing, hire more parole and probation officers, and to make medically assisted treatment more accessible for those who have opioid addictions.

Currently a program within the state’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is shifting towards making all the state’s Community Service Boards part of one uniform system. McAuliffe’s proposals will help to expedite the process while also making same-day evaluations and screening available to every walk-in patient at each of the state’s 40 Community Service Boards. Approximately $11 million of the $76 million will be used to help CSB outpatient clinics to provide their clients with primary care screenings.

The improvement and expansion of behavioral health treatment will also help to assist addicts in the state’s correctional facilities. McAuliffe’s proposals would also fund resources needed for specialized units for opioid offenders who have serious mental illnesses. Drug courts and mental health dockets would also be expanded by the funding while a residential treatment program would be established for non-violent offenders who have a history of opioid addiction and abuse.

In all, McAuliffe’s $76 million proposal would provide $18 million towards opioid treatment and enforcement while the remainder would go towards expanding and improving Mental Health Services.

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