Cuts to Florida Methadone Clinic Could Increase Spread of HIV, Editorial Says
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) did not provide "valid reasons" when he vetoed $1 million in state funding for three state methadone clinics that provide treatment for people addicted to heroin, many of whom are HIV-positive, according to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial. Bush vetoed funding for the West Palm Beach Treatment Center, the Pompano Treatment Center and the Broward Treatment Center, which together treat more than 300 people, because he said the facilities were "outside the scope of the Department of Health's services." But the editorial says, "Try selling that line to a community coping with a high rate of AIDS and HIV infection." Patients at the centers will now have to pay $11 per day for methadone treatment, but the editorial states that many cannot afford those payments, prompting concern that some patients may "share needles if they return to illicit drugs." The editorial says that the health risks are "enormous and so are the potential health costs to the state." The Sun-Sentinel concludes that health officials need to "keep this important program functioning" by finding ways to "soften the impact" of Bush's funding cuts (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.