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AGENCY MISUSES RESOURCES, AUDIT SAYS

The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services is misusing its resources, according to an audit by State Comptroller H. Carl McCall.

The audit, released Monday, "strongly suggested" that the agency is misusing its resources because its 35 residential treatment centers have the capacity to serve many more patients, yet one out of every five is turned away.

The audit also found that the amount that the state spends per patient varies widely from one treatment center to another. It cost the state an average of $11,000 per patient at Creedmoor in New York City from 1994 to 1996, compared with $2,775 per person at Barryville in Sullivan County, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The agency spends $100 million to provide treatment to 16,000 low-income and uninsured people each year in residential rehabilitation centers across the state.

Agency spokeswoman Wendy Gibson called the audit's findings flawed, saying many treatment centers were underused when the audit was done, from 1994 to 1996, because the state had considered closing them.

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