Video: Women–The New Face of Substance Abuse in Illinois

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

(Chicago, IL) — February 9, 2010.  According to a new analysis of Illinois government data, the number of women receiving state-supported treatment for drug or alcohol addiction between 1995-2007 jumped 41%, compared to 21.7% for men.

“The face of addiction is changing across Illinois—and it is increasingly a woman’s face,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, who analyzed the historical data published by the Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

(Listen Here to Podcast: Illinois Women in Drug, Alcohol Treatment Increases 41%)

In the state fiscal year 1995, 30,545 adult Illinois women received drug or alcohol treatment through local community treatment providers financed primarily by state government. In FY 2007, 52,045 received services, a 41% increase.

FY 2007 is the most recent data available.

During the same period, 65,992 adult men received services in FY 1995 and 84,326 in FY 2007, a 21.7% increase.

In FY 1995, adult women comprised 31.6% of the total adult population receiving treatment services. By FY 2007, their share of the treatment population had grown to 38.1%.

Young girls and boys in treatment are surging even more dramatically.
Female youth in treatment increased from 2,392 in FY 1995 to 5,087 in FY 2007—a 52.9% jump. Boys totaled 6,020 in 1995 and 13,188 in 2007, a 54.3% hike.

The growth in substance treatment use far outstrips the general population growth in Illinois. In 1995, Illinois had an estimated population of 11.8 million and 12.9 million in 2008, a 9.3% increase.

What troubles Moscato Howe even more is that Illinois is failing to meet the overall need for treatment services.

“The state’s own plan says they will serve 15% of the need,” said Moscato Howe, “However, using the most recent Illinois Household Survey Data from 2003, we are currently only serving about 5.25%.”

Moscato Howe noted when this year’s Illinois budget cuts are factored, that number will fall to about 4.09%, much lower than 7-9% served in previous years.

“More and more women and young girls are seeking drug and alcohol treatment and our ability to help them is diminishing with each passing year,” Moscato Howe said.

Moscata Howe noted that IADDA will be pushing Governor Pat Quinn and legislative leaders House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno to address funding issues this year.

IADDA VIDEO: “The Perfect Storm: Women Needing Treatment Soars, State Funding Plunges”

Shannon Simms, a nurse and mother, illustrates how substance treatment at the Haymarket Center in Chicago saved her life, saved the life of her unborn child, and gave her a second chance to reestablish her career, home and family. Moscato Howe and Anthony Cole, Vice-President at Haymarket Center outline the risks of shrunken state funding for women in treatment as their demand escalates.

Finally, Simms has a warning for lawmakers who allow money for drug and alcohol treatment to be gutted.

Watch her story and learn about the state of women and substance abuse treatment in Illinois here:

Leave a comment


  1. I watched this video of myself and I cried. I am so grateful for Haymarket, my recovery and AA.

  2. Mary Shoemaker

     /  February 9, 2010

    As a practicing nurse and a recovering alcoholic and the sponsor of Shannon Simms I can testify that Haymarket Center saved her life. By the time she was released and introduced to me she had a strong grasp on sobriety and a willingness to do what it took to remain drug and alcohol free. With very little money and an infant she came to Lafayette to start a new life. I have been blessed to know her life story and to see her become a useful member of society. Haymarket was the lifeline that gave Shannon the time she needed to learn the life skills to re-enter society. Sincerely, Mary S.


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