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Deputy Drug Czar Promotes Faith-Based Drug Treatment

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – The country's Deputy Drug Czar visited a St. Louis drug treatment center Tuesday to promote President Bush's "Access to Recovery" treatment initiative.

Joined by Senator Jim Talent, R-Mo., Andrea Barthwell toured Catholic Charities' Queen of Peace Women and Children's Residential Drug Treatment Center, and said a proposed voucher program will help drug addicts who are unable to find treatment elsewhere.

"We've been asked to work to create a $600 million voucher program to expand capacity, to get 300,000 people who need help into treatment, and to expect accountability and results from a system we've been investing in for generations," Barthwell said.

Talent said the program does not violate church-state separation, because addicts may use the vouchers for programs of their choice.

"It's not the government saying: 'You must do this,'" Talent said. "The government is saying: 'You've decided you need help, you choose the one that you think will work the best and we're not going to be prejudiced against a choice that's a faith-based choice.'"

The plan still needs final approval from Congress.


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