IL Senate Votes to Restore $55 Million for Drug Treatment; Governor Urged to Approve Money

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate yesterday voted to restore $55 million to the state’s alcohol and drug treatment budget which had been originally vetoed by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The Senate voted, 55-0, to restore the $55 million to state addiction treatment services and to halt the elimination of care for 42,000 across Illinois as part of $219 million supplement budget bill (SB 1103) to restore other state programs and services also vetoed by the Governor.

The House voted, 113-3, last week to restore the money.

“The General Assembly’s action will restore drug treatment services to more than 42,000 people across the state,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Now, we urge the Governor to act swiftly to approve the legislature’s action.”

On July 9, Blagojevich cut $55 million from addiction treatment services and also line-item vetoed money from specific programs:  victims of domestic violence, women returning from incarceration, youth treatment, youth in the court system, and women receiving federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families who require treatment to be employed.

The legislation now goes to the Governor’s desk for approval.

IL House Votes to Restore $55 Million for Drug Treatment; Senate Urged to Approve Plan

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House yesterday voted unanimously to restore $55 million to the state’s alcohol and drug treatment budget which had been originally vetoed by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The House voted 113-0 to restore the $55 million to state addiction treatment services and to halt the

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

elimination of care for 42,000 across Illinois as part of $219 million supplement budget bill (SB 1103) to restore other state programs and services also vetoed by the Governor.

“The House’s action will restore drug treatment services to more than 42,000 people across the state,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Now, we urge the Senate to act swiftly to approve the House’s action.”

On July 9, Blagojevich cut $55 million from addiction treatment services and also line-item vetoed money from specific programs:  victims of domestic violence, women returning from incarceration, youth treatment, youth in the court system, and women receiving federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families who require treatment to be employed.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

“It is critical to our state’s health care system that the Senate restore the $55 million to addiction treatment,” said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “Therefore, I urge advocates and voters to convince the Senate to return to Springfield and to approve the money, too.”

Since the Governor’s budget veto was announced in July, treatment programs across the state have begun to eliminate services.

In suburban East Hazel Crest, Governor Blagojevich’s Administration eliminated $879,911 of a $4,273,054 grant to local treatment provider, South Suburban Council, which provides substance abuse treatment to more than 3,000 people each year.

“We will turn away approximately 600 South Suburban residents during the next year and 20,000 will soon be turned away across Cook County,” said Allen Sandusky, President of the South Suburban Council and Chairman of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Sandusky noted that the Governor’s cuts also will trigger a loss of $55 million in federal matching funds, reducing the overall state addiction treatment budget by 43%. A 43% reduction will eliminate treatment for 42,140 people in Illinois out of 98,000 currently served, Sandusky estimates.

Meanwhile, Democratic State Senators Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), William Delgado (D-Chicago), Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), and Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) had previously announced that they too favored the restoration the $55 million to the addiction treatment budget.

Advocates Urge Restoration of $55 Million for Drug, Alcohol Treatment Vetoed by Blagojevich

(Chicago, IL) – Advocates on July 14 appeared at a Chicago press conference to urge Governor Rod

Pastor Ray Mosby of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Robbins, Illinois, speaks to reporters

Pastor Ray Mosby of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Robbins, Illinois, speaks to reporters.

Blagojevich and the Illinois General Assembly to restore more than $55 million to the state budget for alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment programs.

The money was vetoed by the Governor last week.

“If the Governor’s budget cuts stand, the prevention and treatment system in Illinois will be crippled, throwing more than 42,000 people out of care,” stated Allen Sandusky, Board President of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

“The Governor and General Assembly must set-aside their differences and restore the funding,” said Sandusky.

Blagojevich cut $55 million from addiction treatment services and also line-item vetoed money from specific programs: victims of domestic violence, women returning from incarceration, youth treatment, youth in the court system, and women receiving federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families who require treatment to

IADDA Chairman Allen Sandusky addresses reporters.

IADDA Chairman Allen Sandusky addresses reporters.

be employed.

If the Governor’s cuts remain, the Illinois Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse will also lose $55 million in federal matching funds and witness its $253 million annual budget fall by $110 million, or 43%

“Cuts of this magnitude will expose Illinois hospital emergency rooms and local jails to the financial and human fallout of untreated addiction this year and years to come,” said Sandusky.

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 Sandusky.

Shannon, a nurse and pregnant mother, tells reporters that treatment has kept her drug free for 4 1/2 months and has saved her life.

Shannon, a nurse and pregnant mother, tells reporters that treatment has kept her drug free for 4 1/2 months and has saved her life.

Additionally, the loss of the Federal dollars will eliminate the state’s community-based prevention system, because it will lose more than 85 percent of its existing funding.

“Currently, our statewide substance abuse prevention system serves youth ages 12 to 17,” said Sandusky. “Without the Federal money, every community-based prevention provider will close.”

“We urge the General Assembly and the Governor to work together to resolve the budget challenges and restore full-funding to Illinois’ substance abuse treatment system,” said Sandusky.

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