State system inadequate to deal with $8-billion problem

Friday, February 18th 2005, 6:24 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A state task force report says the state lacks the tools to deal with an 8 (b) billion dollar mental health problem that is driving up prison costs.

The report issued by the Governor's and Attorney General's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence says untreated and under-treated people with mental illness are helping to fill the state's prison population.

The report says mental health and substance abuse problems lead to a direct cost to the state exceeding $3-billion a year.

The task force recommended more prevention and early intervention programs, along with appropriate treatment and recovery support services.

It urged the establishment of mobile services, expansion of domestic violence shelters and mental health services for children.

The report also said there is a need for 100 to 200 more substance abuse treatment beds for adolescents.