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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