The Norman Transcript

Headlines

February 10, 2012

Commissioner seeks more for mental health

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s mental health commissioner urged state lawmakers Thursday to restore millions of dollars that have been cut from her agency in recent years to increase services for the thousands of people suffering from mental illness or substance abuse in the state.

About $36.5 million has been trimmed over the past three years from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ budget, forcing the elimination of behavioral health and substance abuse treatment units, Commissioner Terri White said.

“We have huge needs and a lot of people out their suffering,” White told members of a House budget subcommittee. “You will spend more taxpayer dollars on the consequences than if you had funded these in the first place.”

Without treatment, people suffering from addiction or mental illness often come into contact with law enforcement officers, increasing local police and incarceration costs, she said.

White said about 245,000 Oklahomans above the age of 12 struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. The state ranks first in the nation in addiction to prescription drugs and has the country’s eighth highest suicide rate.

Gov. Mary Fallin’s budget calls for increasing the agency’s budget by almost $143 million, a 76.4 percent increase that would be paid for by a $146.7 decrease in state appropriations to Oklahoma’s Medicaid provider, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

The budget cut to OHCA would be offset by funding from other sources, principally the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program adopted by lawmakers last year that would produce an estimated $152 million a year and an additional $269 million in federal matching funds.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Photo Slideshow: James Garner through the years

    Photos of James Garner...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014