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Many Oklahomans Who Depend on Mental Health & Substance Abuse Support Will Lose Services

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COMMERCE, OKLAHOMA -

More than 73,000 Oklahomans who depend on mental health and substance abuse services will be affected because of another big round of state budget cuts.

The "Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse" has lost another $13 million.  This comes after first being cut almost 23 million dollars since January to help balance the state budget. The cuts will reduce services by $7 million for local agencies like NOCA the “Northeastern Oklahoma Council on Alcoholism" that contract with the state. NOCA executives say the state isn't concerned about providing Oklahomans with quality care.

"Our program works. We have a very low rate of recidivism, as low or lower than anyone else in the state. But if we don't have the money...we're not a charity, and so any dollar that the state doesn't give us to provide the services are services we can't provide,” says NOCA Board Member Randall Wilkins.

The state's new recommendations will also affect the number of counseling hours it will fund, and organizations like NOCA will have to make up the difference or not provide the service.

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