In 1997, there was a growing concern from residents of the state of Arizona over how much substance abuse appeared to be growing and how Arizona appeared to be unable to prevent the tide from overwhelming available resources. Drug abuse has been a growing concern due to there only being so many resources which can be allocated to help deal with treatment. In order to prevent resources from being exhausted, it became necessary to work on education and prevention rather than treatment as treatment was becoming increasingly expensive.
Among the growing concerns is a rising of the numbers for smoking. The state is forced to pay health care costs for many individuals for cancer, respiratory, and other health-related illnesses for individuals who have been smoking or for those who have been exposed to the smoking of other individuals. This has forced the state to pay billions of tax payer dollars. Treatment for this and other addictions or substance abuse has cost millions in additional tax payer funds in order to provide the assistance which abusers need in order to heal.
Many individuals have also been involved in cases of driving under the influence which has resulted in a high number of accidents. In some instances, the fatalities which have resulted have broken families and cost the state millions in aid and assistance. Property damage and other resulting conditions have also forced the state to pay additional millions. Driving under the influence creates many problems and hurts families and tax payers across the state, especially when they are forced to intercede because an individual(s) decided to drink and drive.
In addition, incarceration as a result of substance abused has increased which increases the amount of government spending needed in order to process the separate incarcerations. Almost $80 million was spent processing incarcerations back in 1995 with the numbers increasing yearly. Furthermore, the amount of infants needing care due to substance abuse is taking a toll both on newborns and on the services and funds available to care for them. Premature babies require medical aid which usually costs in the area of $17 million each year.
In 1997, the numbers showed clearly how substance abuse was affecting many lives on both an emotional and financial level. Taxes are meant to be used to assist individuals in their everyday lives but not during such extreme cases on a growing basis. Without further intervention, it will only be a matter of time before the funds are exhausted and other funds will need to be allocated in order to deal with the situation.
Foster care and AIDS assistance is also on the rise, due to the same substance abuse which is affecting so many others. If left unchecked, more lives will be hurt, possibly irrevocably, and it will fall onto the shoulders of many to assist the individuals who made poor choices. It is important to begin preventive measures as Arizona drug and alcohol rehabilitation can only do so much.