Beall Addresses Most Undertreated Health Crisis In The State
At a time when California's approach to the growing concern of alcohol and drug abuse seems to be incarcerating people in State and county jails, a handful of Legislators, led by Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr., have banded together to find more appropriate approaches to dealing with this problem. The quality of life in the State is profoundly affected in numerous negative ways by the lack of comprehensive, coordinated response by all of the elements of State government.
"I firmly believe that the State should focus its resources finding an alternative to the 'Field of Dreams' that the Department of Corrections has sold us," decried Assembly Member Beall of the "If you build them, we will fill them," mentality that currently exists in California. "More than 70% of the costs of prison, parole, local criminal justice, and child welfare, are the result of untreated alcohol and drug abuse problems."
There is no way for the State to avoid paying the cost of this ever-burgeoning problem; it can only decide where those costs will be borne. Alcohol and drug abuse problems have a significant negative impact on youth, including reductions in educational achievement, delinquency, teen pregnancy, and numerous other related hardships faced by California's youth. Only one out of fourteen youth with serious alcohol and other drug problems is able to receive treatment in California.
The Select Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse will have Assembly Member Beall as Chair, and other members include: Majority Leader Karen Bass and Assembly Members Calderon, De Leon, Benoit, and Runner. The Committee will produce a vision to help guide the State, as well as a series of policy recommendations to help the State move forward toward a comprehensive, coordinated plan for addressing alcohol and drug abuse.
On May 17, 2007, Assembly Member Beall will join Michael Dukakis, former Governor of Massachusetts and Chairman of a national panel on the issue of substance abuse, for a Press Conference at the Capitol in Room 317 at 2 PM. Assembly Member Beall will be available immediately prior to and following the press conference for interviews.
At the press conference, Assembly Member Beall is expected to warn about the cost of not moving forward with a proactive and innovative Statewide agenda on the treatable neurological disease of alcohol and drug addiction.