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330,000 Texas Addicts Newly Eligible For Treatment

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The Affordable Care Act will make more than 330,000 Texans eligible for addiction treatment next year, but the state's treatment centers are already at 92 percent of capacity, according to federal statistics.

About 86,000 Texans are getting help for addiction, but if the state expands Medicaid to include more of the working poor — something that Governor Rick Perry adamantly opposes — an additional 250,000 addicts could seek treatment offered under the health program, according to estimate from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This could place an enormous load on addiction treatment centers in Texas, which only count 6,478 beds. The administration estimates more than 1.6 million Texans need some form of treatment for addiction.

Supporters of state Medicaid say expansion would not only save the state money, but provide care to more than one million Texans who are currently without insurance.

State lawmakers have established diversion programs for drug addicts who commit crime to keep them out of the prison system. These programs have a high success rate and have led the state to begin closing prisons.

The Texas Senate has also approved legislation to provide an additional $30 million over the next two years to treat people with substance abuse problems. Lawmakers have made a special push this year to boost treatment for mental and behavioral health problems, largely in response to mass shootings elsewhere in the country.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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