It has been law for over 30 years that the state of Arizona is obligated to provide services for residents who have serious mental illness. Over the last year the governor has stripped many of these services through the cuts to AHCCCS. Her actions and the denial of services to these people comes from a back-room agreement to put a “stay” on the Arnold vs. Sarn ruling. However the law and the courts both agree that the state has an obligation based on the law passed in 1979 that sparked the Arnold vs. Sarn case, which was upheld by the Supreme Court.

The goal is to save money, right? That in fact won’t be the result. Thousands of these individuals have lost case management and medication services in addition to other services like transportation. Without proper medication and treatment many of these people end up in crisis. The crisis system has also been eliminated. So where to they end up? Often times they end up homeless, in jail, or emergency rooms that are ill-equipped to treat them. That in the end still costs taxpayers money. The state government is not relieving your cost, they are merely relocating it and at the same time relocating this at-risk population to places ill-suited to help them. Illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar can be dangerous to both the person living with it and occasionally those around them. What it truly does is make them unnecessarily vulnerable. Please contact your legislator!

Jay Piercefield


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