Schmoke says funds for drug treatment not in jeopardy

September 24, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson has withdrawn a threat to cut $4 million in housing funds from the city's drug treatment program, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday.

Henson, who sits on the board of Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems Inc., the agency created to coordinate drug treatment in the city, threatened this week to take back a portion of the organization's $33 million budget after becoming frustrated by what he called inaction in treating public housing addicts.

Schmoke said yesterday that he met Wednesday with Henson and city Health Commissioner Peter L. Beilenson, who agreed to speed up the treating of city addicts.

In a letter faxed to the Editor of The Sun yesterday, Henson and Beilenson wrote that the money coming from the city's housing-related agencies was only $2.5 million. The two also wrote that no reduction in funding had been planned.

After Schmoke made his announcement, Henson said, "I'm glad that the issue is being discussed."

Baltimore has about 60,000 addicts needing treatment among its 645,000 residents. Drugs were linked to more than 75 percent of the city's 314 homicides last year. Critics contend BSAS has been too large to be efficient. Beilenson has proposed overhauling the city's drug treatment system and adding $20 million to BSAS's budget.

Pub Date: 9/24/99

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