D.C. residents elligible for drug treatment under Obama health care reform

WASHINGTON (AP) - More than 2,000 District of Columbia residents with substance abuse problems will become newly eligible for treatment under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

That would be a 33 percent increase from the 6,000 district residents who are currently getting treatment through their health insurance. But city health officials say the district has the capacity to provide treatment to all those who need it.

The people who need treatment range from homeless drug addicts to functional alcoholics. The district has an 80 percent occupancy rate at its inpatient treatment facilities. Dr. Saul Levin, interim director of the district's health department, says not everyone who becomes newly eligible would need inpatient treatment. He says the district can provide treatment to a surge of newly insured people if there is one.