Uncertainty Surrounds Proposed Penn. Department For Drug And Alcohol Programs

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and a state lawmaker are disputing whether a new department focused on drug and alcohol prevention should be established.
by , | November 2, 2011

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and State Rep. Gene Girolamo are locked in a dispute over a law signed last year by Corbett's predecessor that would create a state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Courier Times reports.

Girolamo, one of its primary authors, called a hearing on Tuesday to explore why the governor hasn't established the department. Budget Secretary Charles Zogby testified that Corbett had no intention of doing so, and representatives from Corbett's office told the Courier Times that the law would only add bureaucracy and extra costs to the state's war on drugs.

However, Girolamo has said the cost would be only about $1 million, and the office would consolidate six state agencies and require the hiring of eight new employees. He stressed that no jobs would be lost, according to the newspaper.

"Almost every crime that's committed in our local communities is related to drug use," DiGirolamo said in the hearing. "We need leadership on this issue and I'm going to fight you on this. Instead of building prisons, we could be closing them."

Corbett's office has countered with a cost estimate of its own, saying the new department would cost at least $2 million, the Courier Times reports.

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