IADDA Praises Gov. Pat Quinn’s Chief of Staff Appointment of Michelle Saddler

Michelle Saddler

(Springfield, IL) — August 25, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn yesterday named Michelle Saddler as his Chief of Staff.

Saddler, who has been serving as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), was previously the Director of Policy for the Quinn Administration

Michelle Saddler is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated members of my cabinet, and I look forward to having her serve as my Chief of Staff,” said Quinn. “There is no one better-suited to continue my mission of creating jobs, supporting Illinois’ economic recovery and protecting our most vulnerable residents.”

Saddler’s appointment is drawing praising from the state’s top substantive abuse prevention and treatment advocacy group.

Michelle Saddler’s appointment as chief of staff to Governor Pat Quinn assures that her competence, decisiveness and leadership will be felt throughout all of Illinois state government,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

“As chief of Human Services, Secretary Saddler has been informed, accessible and has worked hard to minimize the negative impact of the budget crisis on Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.”

Saddler was appointed by Quinn to be Secretary of DHS on Oct. 11, 2009. The agency, one of the state’s largest, provides services to individuals, families and communities for developmental disabilities, mental health, rehabilitation services and alcoholism and substance abuse, among others.

Before joining the Quinn Administration, Saddler served in a number of policy and management positions in both the public and private sectors, including: Vice President for International Adoptions for the Lifelink Corporation; Executive Director of the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund; and Director of Investments with then-Illinois State Treasurer Quinn.

Saddler earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and has a master’s in management from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where she received the F.C. Austin Scholarship – the school’s highest merit award.

“I look forward to continuing to serve and care for the people of Illinois as Governor Quinn’s Chief of Staff,” said Saddler. “I will work to continue the important partnerships with our legislators, employees, providers and advocacy groups.”

Current DHS Assistant Secretary Grace Hou will serve as the agency’s Acting Secretary.

Obama Deputy Drug Control Czar David Mineta to Address IADDA Annual Conference

President Barack Obama meets with Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske in the Oval Office, May 10, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Chicago, IL) – August 19, 2010. The Obama Administration’s newly-appointed Office of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director of Drug Demand Reduction, David Mineta, will present a plenary session at the Illinois Alcoholism Drug Dependence Association Annual Conference in the Chicago-area on September 17, 2010.

Mineta will discuss the White House’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy and how this affects prevention and treatment providers around the country, as well as many other issues including healthcare reform and the importance of prevention programs.

Released on May 11, 2010, the Administration’s strategy establishes five-year goals for reducing drug use.

“This Strategy calls for a balanced approach to confronting the complex challenge of drug use and its consequences,” said President Barack Obama on the day of its release.

“By boosting community-based prevention, expanding treatment, strengthening law enforcement, and working collaboratively with our global partners, we will reduce drug use and the great damage it causes in our communities.”

The 2010 Strategy highlights a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the mainstream health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking organizations.

“This strategy incorporates drug control policies mayors have been advocating for many years,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors Executive Director Tom Cochran.

Mineta was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on June 22, 2010. In his new position, Mineta focuses on promoting drug prevention and drug treatment programs, as well as the agency’s newly created focus on programs for individuals in recovery from addiction.

Mineta has long experience working with community-based organizations.

Since 1996, he Mineta has worked with Asian American Recovery Services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Mineta started as a manager of a youth prevention program, but rose quickly to associate director and, since 2007, deputy director.

“We are excited to have Mr. Mineta at the 2010 conference,” said IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

The IADDA conference will be held the Hilton Hotel in Lisle, Illinois. Mineta’s plenary session is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.

Chicago Tribune Reveals Faces of Heroin Crisis in Chicago; Senator Mattie Hunter Wants Gov. Pat Quinn to Restore Drug Treatment Money

(Chicago, IL) – August 2, 2010. The Chicago Tribune‘s John Keilman on Sunday portrayed five lives–an addict, a cop, a mother, a landlord and a heroin survivor–that have confronted or are confronting the Chicago heroin crisis which is at ground-zero of a national crisis.

Keilman zeroed in on the face of today’s heroin crisis: youth.

But most who pass through the door are startlingly young: suburban teens and 20-somethings whose dalliance with the drug quickly became a consuming obsession.

After looking at hospital admissions, drug test results and overdose deaths, Roosevelt University researchers concluded recently that heroin abuse in the Chicago region is more extreme than anywhere else in the country. And young suburbanites are a primary reason.

They say the drug is alluring because it’s cheap and easy to obtain. It’s powerful, too, wrapping users in a numbing cocoon that seems to keep their troubles far away. That, of course, is a lie.

The release of the Roosevelt University report has also triggered a fierce reaction by a top Illinois lawmaker.

The study comes on the heels of Illinois budget cuts to state substance abuse prevention and treatment programs and has prompted State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to call on Governor Pat Quinn to reverse recent Illinois budget cuts to drug treatment services.

Chicago's heroin crisis is striking at suburban youth.

“To stave off the escalating heroin crisis in Illinois, I am calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to reverse the budget cuts to substance abuse prevention and treatment. These cuts are not the answer, neither clinically nor financially, for the serious challenges facing our constituents and our state,” wrote Hunter in a letter recently published in the State Journal-Register.

Hunter notes that the report by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy reveals more people in Chicago and its suburbs enter hospital emergency rooms for heroin use than in any other big U.S. city and that heroin-related deaths have escalated in Chicago’s collar counties, as heroin use among young, white suburbanites has exploded.

“As a certified alcohol and drug counselor with 18 years of experience in the field of drug treatment and prevention, I have seen first-hand the effectiveness of prevention and treatment. It works. And it is far less expensive than the emergency room and prison costs that will inevitably result in the wake of this crisis,” said Hunter, Chair of the Senate Human Services Committee.

Hunter’s appeal to Quinn for drug treatment funding restoration is drawing praise from a top drug prevention and treatment advocate.

State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) wants Gov. Pat Quinn to restore funding for drug treatment.

“Senator Hunter’s letter underscores the critical need for our services and reminds the public of the dangers of cutting the addiction prevention and treatment system. We are grateful to Senator Hunter for lending her voice to this issue,” said Sara Moscato Howe, President of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

According to Howe, the Quinn Administration cut funding for drug prevention and treatment by 22% last year and this year sliced another 8% while imposing an additional 3% budget “reserve”, meaning at least 2,500 people will lose treatment this year and approximately 1,000 youth will be cut off from prevention services.

“We can’t fight this heroin crisis raging in Chicago’s suburbs while our budgets are slashed; prevention services eliminated; and treatment care dismantled,” said Howe.

“We need to Governor Quinn to rescind budgets so we can confront the heroin killing fields in the suburbs.”