New Reports Reveal Chicago Tops Nation in Arrestee Drug Use; Illinois Drug Treatment Spending Paltry

(Springfield, IL) – Chicago leads the nation in illicit drug use among arrestees, with 87% testing positive for drugs, according to a new report.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which made the data public today, reports heroin use in Chicago leapt 45% in one year, and Chicago is the number one city in heroin use among arrestees.

Positive heroin tests jumped 45% from 20% of arrestees in 2007 to 29% -nearly a third of arrestees-in 2008.

And Chicago leads the nation in arrestees-40%-testing positive for more than one drug.

“Illinois’ drug problem is worsening and state government is failing to adequately fund criminal justice drug treatment,” said Melody Heaps, president of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC, Inc.). “Governor Pat Quinn and legislative leaders must fully fund treatment to stop the spiraling cycle of drug use and crime.”

In addition to the new White House report, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has also released a new study that shows Illinois spends $4.8 billion annually on the consequences of addiction, e.g. prisons and emergency care. However, it spends only a paltry $179 million or 4% on prevention and treatment.

“In the face of escalating crime-related drug use in Chicago, Governor Quinn’s proposed state budget cuts drug prevention and treatment by $13 million and leaves an additional $53 million budget hole, which will only worsen Illinois’ drug problem,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation, HB 4557, to increase the state alcohol tax by a nickel-a-drink, raising $254 million annually, to provide a reliable revenue stream to state addiction health care services.

The Feigenholtz bill is one of many revenue raising proposals still on the table as lawmakers debate the final state budget.

The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 31.

YouTube: IADDA Pushes for 5¢-a-Drink Alcohol Tax Increase in Illinois

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois leading addiction prevention, treatment and mental health advocates today unveiled legislation at a Springfield press conference that increases the states alcohol tax by nickel a drink to help fund state human services and reduce drinking.

The bill, HB 4557, sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), would raise $254 million for cash-strapped Illinois and boost addiction healthcare services by $140 million and mental health care services by $92 million and the remaining $22 million would be deposited in the states general revenue fund—its daily checkbook.

A nickel-a-drink increase will raise $254 million to help offset the state budget deficit and provide critical investments to addiction healthcare services, said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

Quinn ‘Doomsday’ Budget Will Eliminate Addiction Healthcare for 355,071 Residents across Illinois

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois’ alcohol and drug prevention and treatment advocates today denounced Governor Pat Quinn’s ‘doomsday’ budget, saying it will slash drug prevention and treatment for more than 355,000 Illinois residents starting on July 1, 2009.

“This budget will destroy Illinois’ addiction healthcare system,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Little will remain standing on July 1.”

Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn

Quinn’s newly unveiled ‘doomsday’ budget—a spending plan without the Governor’s proposed income tax increase—eliminates both the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse budget for community treatment providers and all funds for  addiction prevention for community prevention providers, a total loss of $170 million.

Quinn’s ‘doomsday’ budget will eliminate drug treatment services for 98,000 currently served by state-financed community providers across Illinois, Howe estimates.

“Cuts of this magnitude will eliminate services for more than 51,000 in Cook County alone,” said Howe.

Currently, untreated addiction costs the State of Illinois $3 billion a year. Increases in health insurance rates, incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, domestic violence, on-the-job accidents, lost worker productivity, school drop-out rates, teen pregnancy, and traffic accidents and fatalities are all attributable to untreated addiction, says Howe.

“Crime rates, domestic violence incidents, and traffic accidents will explode across Illinois,” said Howe.

Additionally, the state’s community-based prevention system will be completely eliminated.

“Currently, our statewide substance abuse prevention system serves 257,071 youth ages 12 to 17,” said Howe. “Under this budget, every community-based addiction prevention provider will close.”

“We urge the Speaker Micheal Madigan, Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Governor Quinn to approve an income tax increase to restore the $170 million to the addiction healthcare system and not unleash a doomsday that will decimate Illinois communities.”

News Video: Feigenholtz Pushes 5¢ a Drink Alcohol Tax Increase

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois’ leading addiction prevention, treatment and mental health advocates today unveiled legislation at a Springfield press conference that increases the state’s alcohol tax by nickel a drink to help fund state human services and reduce drinking.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

The bill, HB 4557, sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), would raise $254 million for cash-strapped Illinois and boost addiction healthcare services by $140 million and mental health care services by $92 million and the remaining $22 million would be deposited in the state’s general revenue fund—its daily checkbook.

“A nickel-a-drink increase will raise $254 million to help offset the state budget deficit and provide critical investments to addiction healthcare services,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

Watch news video report from WAND-TV Ch. 17 (NBC) of Springfield. WLS-TV Ch. 7 (ABC) of Chicago has a brief story. And WTVW-Fox 7 of Evansville, Indiana carries a piece. And from the Chicagoist.

Feigenholtz, Winters Push a Bi-Partisan “5¢ a Drink” Alcohol Tax to Reverse Cuts, Boost Drug, Alcohol Treatment; Mental Health Care

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois’ leading addiction prevention, treatment and mental health advocates today unveiled legislation at a Springfield press conference that increases the state’s alcohol tax by 5¢ a drink to help fund state human services and reduce drinking.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

The bill, HB 4557, sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), would raise $254 million for cash-strapped Illinois and boost addiction healthcare services by $140 million and mental health care services by $92 million and the remaining $22 million would be deposited in the state’s general revenue fund—its daily checkbook.

“A nickel-a-drink increase will raise $254 million to help offset the state budget deficit and provide critical investments to addiction healthcare services,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

“Without a financial rescue, without $92 million invested in community mental health care, more than 45,000 will lose mental health services by June 30, 2010 according to our new survey,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association.

“Illinois’ chronically under funded addiction and mental health care services need dedicated money from an alcohol tax to maintain care and taxpayers need to know their money is being wisely spent,” said Feigenholtz, Chair of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee and a state budget negotiator, who noted Governor Pat Quinn’s budget cuts the programs further.

“Instead of throwing these services a lifeline, Governor Quinn’s budget throws then an anchor,” said

State Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland)

State Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland)

Feigenholtz.

The nickel-a-drink tax would be applied on wholesale alcohol by the gallon that is distributed as packaged beer, wine, or distilled spirits to stores or as beverages purchased at bars, restaurants, and hotels.

A “drink” is 12 oz of beer (bottle), 5 oz of wine (glass), and 1.5 oz of liquor (1.5 shots). Using this definition, a nickel-a-drink tax would add 30 cents per six-pack of beer, 25 cents per bottle of wine, and 85 cents per 750 ml bottle of liquor.

In addition to funding state addiction prevention, treatment and mental health services, the nickel-a-drink would reduce drinking consumption by five million gallons or 2 percent annually. The estimated drop in consumption would be up to 3.94% for beer and cider, 2.5% for wine, and 6.76% for spirits

State Rep. Naomi Jakobbson (D-Champaign)

State Rep. Naomi Jakobbson (D-Champaign)

“We will reduce the probability of accidents among adults and youth alike,” said Howe.

Howe noted alcohol abuse and drunk driving continue to exact a terrible, deadly toll on youth and children in communities throughout Illinois.

She pointed to the most recent media reports of drug and alcohol-related driving tragedies which reinforce the need for adequate addiction healthcare funding.

  • February 5 Edwardsville, IL – “A wrong-way driver whose license was yanked several times for alcohol-related offenses caused the crash early today that killed two adults and a boy and left an 11-year-old girl hospitalized.
  • February 17 Johnsburg, IL –“Police are investigating who provided alcohol to a 17-year-old Johnsburg High School student who froze to death after a minor car accident last month.
  • February 18 Elgin, IL – “The blood-alcohol level of an Elgin teen who crashed into a house last fall, killing his passenger, was nearly three times the legal limit for driving, police said…

Howe also noted an Illinois Department of Human Services study revealed that in 2006 nearly 40 percent of Illinois 12th graders had ridden in a car with a drunk or high teenager in the last year and 30 percent had the same experience with a drunk or high adult.

Illinois last raised the alcohol tax in 1999 and before that in 1969.

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago)

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago)

Joining Feigenholtz as co-sponsors of the legislation are State Representatives: Dave Winters (R-Shirland) Deborah Mell (D-Chicago),  Greg Harris (D-Chicago), Kathy Ryg (D-Vernon Hills), Esther Golar (D-Chicago), Naomi Jakobbson (D-Champaign).

Advocates are also looking to gain Governor Quinn’s support for the nickel-a-drink tax increase to reverse his initial budget cuts.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the final state budget by their scheduled May 31 adjournment.

A simple majority of lawmakers is required to pass a budget if voted on or before May 31. If after May 31, a 3/5th super-majority would be needed to approve the annual state spending plan.

Alcohol, Drug Treatment Advocates Descend on Springfield Urging Lawmakers to Back 5¢ a Drink Tax, Reverse Quinn Addiction Healthcare Cuts

(Springfield, IL) - More than 100 Illinois drug and alcohol treatment and prevention advocates fanned out across the capitol on April 29 during IADDA’s Lobby Day to urge state lawmakers to increase the state’s alcohol tax by 5¢ a drink.

This move would raise $250 million for cash-strapped Illinois and restore $12.9 million cut from addiction healthcare services in Governor Pat Quinn‘s proposed FY 2010 budget.

“A nickel a drink increase will raise $250 million to help offset the budget deficit and restore budget cuts to addiction healthcare services,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA). And legislators got the message loud and clear.”

“We recognize Illinois faces tough economic problems, but in these times more people turn to drugs and alcohol and treatment must be available.”

“We are urging Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno to raise revenue and to restore cuts made to treatment services by passing a nickel-a-drink alcohol tax increase,” said Howe.

Howe noted that alcohol and drug treatment advocates will keep the pressure on lawmakers by calling and writing their local senators and representatives.

“We’re not going to let up,” said Howe.

Lawmakers are in the final stretch of the General Assembly’s spring legislation which is scheduled to adjourn on May 31.

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