U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske Headline Forum on Drug Prevention, Treatment

IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe

(Chicago, IL) – Illinois drug prevention and treatment advocates, Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske will debate the impact of Federal and local initiatives to combat recidivism and substance abuse at a forum in Chicago on Monday, October 17.

The forum, which will include Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe, will feature two panels that will discuss Federal initiatives in the Chicago area.

Those initiatives include drug prevention programs and drug courts. Panelists will also discuss the successes of local drug treatment and adjudication programs benefiting the health and safety of local communities.

The forum will take place at A Safe Haven, 2750 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago on Monday, October 17 beginning at 9:00 A.M.

Davis is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives, and lead sponsor of the Second Chance Act, which authorizes federal grants to entities that provide drug treatment, mental health care, housing and jobs for people newly released from prison.

Kerlikowske, who assumed his White House drug czar post on May 7, 2009, has served as Chief of Police in four cities and worked in the United States Justice Department. His longest term as a Chief of Police was between July 2001 and March 2009 in Seattle, Washington.

The panel participants include:

Panel 1

 Panel 2

Illinois Senate OKs Health Insurance Parity for Substance Abuse Treatment

IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe

(Springfield, IL) – May 27, 2011. The Illinois Senate yesterday approved, 49-08, legislation which will ensure that all health insurance policies sold in Illinois will cover substance abuse treatment, mental health care and other disorders without gouging consumers for this coverage.

“This landmark legislation will ensure that those who purchase health insurance in our state will now be able to seek medical attention for mental, emotional, and substance abuse treatment without having to pay for it out of pocket,” stated State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago), Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee, the chief sponsor of the measure in the Senate.

The legislation, House Bill 1530, requires that every insurer that issues health insurance in this State provides coverage for the treatment of mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorders.

Most importantly, the bill prohibits insurance companies from charging exorbitant fees for these services or  requiring consumers to pay a separate fee for the coverage of these services, according to Delgado.

“This is a momentous day for the people of Illinois,” stated Delgado.  “This is the first time in our history that we are telling insurance companies that they may not discriminate against those with mental, emotional, nervous or drug related disorders.”

“With the passage of this legislation, employers will see decreased health care costs and increased worker productivity.” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “Additionally, across Illinois, we will see a reduction in accidents, absenteeism and crime while building healthy parents and families.”

Research shows that patients that have completed substance use disorder treatment have been shown to reduce emergency room visits by 39%, hospital stays by 35% and total medical costs by 26%, according to Howe.

The bill is being sponsored in the Illinois House by House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie).

“This legislation is an important step toward bringing health insurance parity to addiction health care,” said Lang.

This legislation now returns to the Illinois House to concur with the Senate’s Amendment.

New A&E TV Documentary Exposes Escalating Heroin Crisis in Chicago, Suburbs

(Springfield, IL) – April 22, 2011. A&E TV last week unveiled a new 45 minute documentary that exposes the escalating heroin crisis in Chicago and the suburbs as the State of Illinois slices its budget for drug treatment services.

“The video footage was taken during the recent mid-year fiscal year 2011 budget crisis in which Governor Pat Quinn’s Administration had planned to eliminate all state treatment and prevention funding for the remainder of the year,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

“The documentary accurately reflects the unfolding heroin crisis which is gripping Chicago’s suburbs,” said Howe. “Drug cartels are expanding their distributions operations in Chicago to meet the spiraling demand from the suburbs.”

The documentary depicts the efforts of several suburban residents struggling to overcome their addiction while state treatment service funding is squeezed by the state.

“It is worth the watch,” said Howe.

You can view the documentary here …

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.

Family Services and Mental Health Center of McHenry County Wins National Behavioral Healthcare Award

Back row: Chris Gleason, Jessica Zaucha, Elizabeth Mundy-Hemmerich, Dr. Rick Shepler, Chelesa Pierce Front row: Rebecca Jaster, Nicole O’Dea, Lisa Coffaro

(Springfield, IL) — Of the eight organizations from around the country that will be recognized in July as leaders in the field of behavioral healthcare for developing and implementing innovative approaches to management and process improvement, one will come from Illinois.

Sponsored by Washington, D.C.-based State Associations of Addiction Services and NIATx, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the eight 2010 Innovation in Behavioral Healthcare Services Awards will be granted to Family Services and Mental Health Center of McHenry County.

The first-ever iAwards provide national recognition of agencies using innovative approaches and provide a venue for organizations to share how they have adapted to meet the changing needs of clients, staff and the addiction healthcare field.

Family Service staff partnered with Family CARE, Juvenile Court Services, the Mental Health Board, special education representatives, the crisis line, local police departments, and other community partners to explore alternative treatment models to better meet the needs of youth with co-occurring disorders.

As a result, McHenry County’s Integrated Co-occurring Treatment (ICT) program was created during the summer of 2008.  This evidence-informed treatment program for high-risk adolescents, ages 11 to 16, who have both substance abuse and mental health problems is based out of Kent State University under the direction of Dr. Rick Shepler.

The integrated treatment approach is embedded in an intensive home-based method of service delivery and provides a set of core services to youth and their families. The goals of ICT are to decrease mental health symptoms and substance abuse while improving a youth’s functioning within their family, school, community, and peer groups.

“Family Services and Community Mental Health Center deserves to be commended with this award for its leadership, innovation and commitment to youth,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

Family Services is a member of IADDA.

Awards will be presented at the SAAS annual conference and NIATx Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, July11-14, 2010

Lawmakers, People in Drug, Alcohol Treatment Protest Governor Pat Quinn’s Budget Cuts to Eliminate 2,500 from Treatment

Sara Howe

(Chicago, IL) — Since 1995, the number of Illinois women in drug, alcohol treatment has surged 41%, but Governor Pat Quinn this year is still cutting treatment services by 8%, which will toss more than 2,500 out of treatment, of whom nearly 1,000 are women.

Quinn’s cuts comes on the heals of a 22% budget cuts that the Governor imposed on substance abuse prevention and treatment services last year, according to Sara Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Additionally, in 2009, a resurgent heroin crisis killed more than 100 people in Northern Illinois alone, a crisis that is zeroing in on local teens. Meanwhile, Quinn’s proposed budget will eliminate drug prevention for more than 1,000 youth.

Faced with the surging need for treatment and dwindling state money, public officials and private citizens yesterday rallied

State Sentor Mattie Hunter and Theodora Binion Taylor

at a community forum to discuss the cost and impact of untreated addiction and to protest Quinn’s budget cuts to prevention and treatment services.

Sponsored by the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association; Haymarket Center, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC, Inc.) and Healthcare Alternative Systems, Inc., the packed auditorium at Haymarket heard from multiple speakers:

  • John Roberts, Father who lost 19 year-old to heroin overdose, Chicago Police Captain (retired), Program Chair of Criminal/Social Justice at Lewis University (retired)
  • Mattie Hunter, State Senator (Chicago-3)
  • Earlean Collins, Cook County Commissioner
  • Paul Biebel, Presiding Judge, Criminal Division, Cook County Circuit Court
  • Anthony Cole, Vice President, Haymarket Center;  Board Chairman, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA)
  • Sara Howe, CEO, IADDA
  • Roger Romanelli – CEO, Randolph/Fulton Market Association
  • Theodora Binion Taylor, Director of the Division of. Alcoholism and Substance

Failure of State to Pay Illinois Substance Abuse Treatment Providers Pushes Agencies to Financial Edge; Quinn, Giannnoulias, Hynes Urged to Back Short-Term Loan

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

(Chicago, IL) – January 11, 2010. The State of Illinois’s inability to pay its $5.1 billion backlog of bills is threatening the ability of Illinois substance abuse providers to treat the estimated 98,000 individuals annually enrolled and provide care to the children of women in treatment.

The state owes prevention and treatment providers an estimated $43 million in unpaid bills, much of that amount stretching back six months.

“Though some payments are trickling in, the state has, essentially, stopped paying treatment providers for their work,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO at the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

For example, the state owes Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) approximately $1.2 million for this fiscal year, in addition to nearly $300,000 for the previous fiscal year.

LSSI, which provides substance abuse treatment to nearly 5,000 people annually, is facing grave decisions regarding the treatment and other services it can provide if the agency continues to go unpaid.

Rev. Dr. Denver Bitner, LSSI president/CEO

“We have almost exhausted our savings and lines of credits to keep paying our employees so that our agency can continue to operate,” said the Rev. Dr. Denver Bitner, LSSI president/CEO.

In addition to its substance abuse treatment services, the major human services provider serves more than 72,000 people annually through a wide variety of services for children, families and adults of all ages, including seniors.

“The State’s failure to pay us for services we’ve already provided — some going back to last fiscal year — jeopardizes our ability to continue to provide the care and treatment that men, women and their children need,” said Bitner.

“How long could you keep your house if you boss failed to pay you for six months?”

According to Bitner, LSSI employs 163 people in its substance abuse treatment programs. Of its nearly 5,000 clients, many are women with children.

“When women come for help, they don’t come alone—they come with children,” said Bitner. “The women will lose their treatment and this will directly affect the well-being of their children

Illinois currently has a backlog of $5.1 billion in unpaid bills, and the payment cycle is, in some cases, six-months from the time a bill is submitted to the state until payment is received by a vendor.

“Program closures, client service cuts, and staff lay-offs are not empty warnings if the state continues to not pay its bills to us,” said

Diana Martinez, 32 years old; single mother with 3 children, LSSI client

Bitner. “We have taken loans to pay the state’s bills—the state should also take the loans necessary to pay its own bills.”

“Across the state, agencies like Lutheran Social Services of Illinois are taking loans to pay their bills because the state is failing to do so,” said Howe. “Governor Pat Quinn, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Comptroller Dan Hynes need to reach immediate agreement on a short term-loan to help pay the state’s bills.”

“We have reduced our costs as much as possible. In fact, last year, we reduced our cost of providing treatment services by approximately 15 percent.

“Any further cuts will severely affect our ability to serve people and add to the state’s unemployment rolls,” added Bitner.”

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.