The woman was pregnant, homeless and hooked on cocaine.
When an Annapolis police officer arrested her last winter on a drug-related charge, he realized right away that she didn't belong in jail. He made a few calls and got her into private treatment until a bed was free at Hope House, the county's largest non-profit residential program.
That kind of partnership, sharing the responsibility with privateproviders, is critical for the survival of non-profit treatment programs in these lean times, the head of Maryland's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration warned Wednesday.
More outpatient treatment, less institutional bureaucracy and better networking between public and private programs are needed to cope with the cutbacks, said H. R. "Rick" Sampson, who directs the division of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
"With the budget crisis, we have an opportunity to rethink our system," Sampson told counselors and supporters of Hope House at a luncheon Wednesday. "In a time of declining resources and tight resources, we have to go back to human beings helping human beings."
The mood was bleak, despite the elegance of linen andgilded mirrors at the Officer's Club at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
"This is the first public appearance I've made since disaster struck," said Sampson, who told the group that he has spent the past days trying to save $27 million in federal funds for drug and mental health programs in Maryland.
When the state slashed $15 million from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration's $34 million budget, italso jeopardized amatching federal block grant, Sampson explained. The federal government uses a formula to award drug prevention and treatment grants based on the state's commitment to spending money on such programs, he said.
"If we lose that, we lose any treatment in Maryland," he threatened.
Three halfway houses in Anne Arundel County hope to stay open with the help of aid from the county and privatedonations. Raft House, a halfway house in Crownsville that offered treatment for up to two years for 43 men and women, will close at the end of December.
Hope House is expanding to fill the gap. County Executive Robert R. Neall gave the 28-day program $100,000 to begin intensive, outpatient treatment and open 20 beds for long-term care.
Outpatient treatment and partnerships with the private sector must be the wave of the future, Sampson said. He also emphasized the importance of coordinating care. Addicts who seek help at an inpatient center should continue treatment months later, while living together in rented homes or apartments, such as those run by the Oxford House group.
"If I have my way and get some money, I will try to hinge the system together," he said. "But if I had some money now, I would not fund long-term care. I'd rather we go into transitional living programs and outpatient care."