Men who need substance abuse treatment won't be able to turn to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health for help. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports the agency is scrambling to cut costs.
The Mississippi Department of Mental Health has to cut about 8.3 million dollars to line-up with next year's budget allocation. Department spokesperson Adam Moore says as of July 1, the start of fiscal year 2017, they'll close the two substance abuse units for men.
"Individuals who are already there of course are going to stay there and continue their treatment. Individuals who have already received a commitment order to go through that program those commitment programs will be honored and they'll go through that program," said Moore.
Moore says they are also closing a psychiatric unit, removing five beds from another one and ending an early intervention program for children. Many states agencies are being forced to reduce their budgets after state revenues fell short of projections for next year. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says a new measure called the Simplification and Transparency Act that keeps agencies from transferring money between one another is actually reducing the department's expenses.
"Their total state support was cut 4.1 million dollars last year. Their total expenses that were removed from their budget is 5.2 million dollars. So, they don't have to pay rent this year. They don't have to pay expenses for lawyers. They don't have to pay expenses for IT services.
Reeves contends the agency is gaining 1.1 million dollars. Adam Moore with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health says there are 14 regional community health centers that offer substance abuse treatment for anyone. The units for women and adolescents will remain open.