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US health law mixed for WV drug abuse efforts

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LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — Few states are as hard-pressed as West Virginia when it comes to finding treatment for people who abuse drugs or alcohol. The federal health care overhaul may stretch those meager resources even further.

The federal law will soon provide access to coverage to more than 11,200 uninsured West Virginians with substance addiction issues, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Expanding Medicaid would cover nearly 33,700 additional addicts.

But with only 558 beds at treatment facilities, West Virginia's resources are already overwhelmed. Only two states, Idaho and New Hampshire, have higher occupancy rates.

The Legislature just pledged $25 million over five years for such community-based services as drug treatment. But that's for people accused or convicted of crimes.

An estimated 119,000 West Virginians need substance abuse treatment.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press