Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Budget Eliminates Drug Prevention for 34,593 Illinois Youth

Illinois substance abuse prevention funding cuts are a ritual in Illinois. But IADDA and its supporters have repeatedly fought back–and won.

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois’ alcohol and drug prevention advocates today denounced Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed budget for next year, saying it will eliminate drug prevention services for more than 34,593 Illinois youth.

“This budget will break the back of Illinois’ drug prevention system helping youth while a heroin and synthetic drug epidemic is sweeping Illinois,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Quinn’s newly unveiled fiscal year 2013 budget eliminates $2.6 million or 100% from the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Family and Community Services for prevention which will reduce the number youth being target for drug prevention.

In fiscal year 2008 Illinois spent $7.5 million in state money on youth prevention.

“The days of heroin use being confined to the wrong people in the wrongs are gone. It is a plague of all communities, all incomes and all children,” said Wayne Hunter, Lake County sheriff chief of administration, Daily Herald, January 31, 2012.

In Lake County, heroin deaths increased 130% from 2000 to 2009. In McHenry,  in three years heroin deaths zoomed 150% higher. In Will County, in two years, deaths doubled.

In addition to heroin, synthetic drug use, like “K2”, “Spice” and “Bath Salts”, is an escalating problem among youth, said Howe.

“Illinois had one of the highest call rates to the Poison Control Centers for these synthetic drugs in 2010 and 2011,” said Howe.

“Year after year after year an Illinois governor has tried to completely eliminate successful drug prevention programs to save a little money up front, but  such a move just ignites youth addictions, while a heroin and synthetic drug epidemic is sweeping the Chicago suburbs and down state Illinois,” 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.

In addition, prevention saves the save up to $35 for each dollar spent

“With heroin abuse by Illinois teens spreading like wild fire in the suburbs and downstate, nothing could be more foolish than cutting youth drug prevention in the middle of a crisis.,” said Howe. “And Illinois will lose $2.6 million from federal matching money, even more foolish.”

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