LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The first draft of the state budget leaves virtually no funding for court-ordered drug treatment.
Larry was ordered to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council by the Angelina County Probation Department.
"I was mad at probation when they sent me here," Larry admitted. "But, then you know...when you got a drug problem and you've got people trying to help you with your problem, it makes you realize that this is what I've been missing."
Soon, it could be what a lot of people are missing.
The probation department said as the state budget is now, there's basically no funding for outpatient treatment programs like they provide at ADAC. It's a big problem since the majority of ADAC's patients are court-ordered there.
"When we begin to see those funds dwindling or those funds eliminated, certainly with the state and their economic problems we know that's going to be devastating to the individuals we serve," said Phyllis Grandgeorge, the executive director of ADAC.
After spending 40 years of his life addicted to drugs and alcohol, Larry is finally making progress. He's been sober about six months.
"It's a good feeling for me to be able to come outside in the morning time, police pass by my house and I don't have to do this right here," Larry said ducking.
This place serves about 125 patients a week and without state funding, that number will shrink.
"If we lose that funding, these individuals are likely to continue in their drug addiction and violate the law and the cost of incarcerating them and putting them into jail is so much more than the cost of outpatient treatment," said Grandgeorge.
However, a lack of funding is becoming a reality for a program proven to work.
"If it was possible, I would hug the judge and my probation officer that's just how I feel about it because I really would like to thank them," Larry said. "They helped me understand how life can be clean and sober, so it's a great thing for me and one more time, don't cut out the program, you're going to hurt some people."
Larry will graduate from the program in a few months and is planning to continue attending meetings regularly.