Vice Speaker Nelson: Funding for Substance Abuse Treatment Secured


(Hagåtña, Guam) – In advocating for the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center (GBHWC) and its substance abuse treatment partners, Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson secured funding to realize fully-funded beds available to the people of Guam through several local inpatient recovery programs.


“We’ve seen, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rise in alcohol and substance abuse, and I’m pleased to see that we’re prioritizing not only our people’s physical health, but also their mental and emotional wellness,” said Nelson, who nearly a month ago introduced legislation addressing such.


Nelson had introduced Bill No. 389-35 on July 31, 2020, seeking to expand availability of alcohol and drug rehabilitation services with $600,000. The measure meant to appropriate $275,000 each to the Salvation Army Lighthouse Recovery Center and Oasis Empowerment Center to increase bed capacity in their residential recovery programs and fund all beds available. The bill also sought to appropriate $50,000 to fund the GBHWC New Beginnings alcohol and drug treatment program.


In working together with the Office of Finance and Budget, Nelson secured funding for the GBHWC budget to meet the intentions of Bill No. 389-35 and fully fund beds available at the aforementioned treatment centers. In recent budget discussions, GBHWC indicated that in many previous fiscal years, they’ve had to operate without the use of several unfunded beds. During the Committee on Appropriations meeting on Wednesday, GBHWC was granted an appropriation of approximately $20 million dollars for Fiscal Year 2021. This is about a 2.1 percent increase from the agency’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget with a substantial amount committed to funding substance abuse treatment programs and building inpatient capacity.


“We’re humbled to work with the Office of Finance and Budget in funding these critical services and lifelines that will empower those who are suffering from the disease of addiction to have hope and seek recovery,” Nelson said.


For more information, please contact Tihu Lujan at The Office of Vice Speaker

Telena Cruz Nelson at (671) 989-7696 or senatortcnelson@guamlegislature.org.

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