Advocates Hail Quinn Signature on Meth Disruption Law, But Warn against Budget Cuts to Drug Prevention, Treatment Funding

Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Associaiton CEO Sara Moscato Howe

(Springfield, IL) ­– January 20, 2012. Illinois’ leading drug prevention and treatment advocacy group today welcomed Governor Pat Quinn’s signature on legislation that helps to disrupt Illinois meth production, but also warned the governor that the state’s efforts to combat drug abuse will falter if the already shrunken funding for prevention and treatment is reduced further in next year’s Illinois budget.

The new law signed by Quinn makes permanent a pilot program initially created to electronically track pseudoephedrine purchases that could be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

“This program is a valuable tool that helps us prevent meth from getting into our communities by stopping production,” said Quinn. “Tracking the sales of items commonly used to manufacture meth has enabled us to nip production in the bud, and it is important to continue this program.”

The Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act took effect in 2009 and required pharmacies to track and block excessive purchases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Since its implementation, the program has blocked more than 103,319 boxes – or 230,330 grams – of pseudoephedrine from being used for methamphetamine production in communities throughout Illinois, according to Quinn.

“Because this is an important tool to disrupt meth production, we welcome Governor Quinn’s signature on this law,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

“However, the principal line of defense against drug abuse in Illinois is drug prevention and treatment, for which state funding has been cut 30% since 2007,” said Howe. “To protect communities, we need Governor Quinn to shield the Illinois prevention and treatment budget from further cuts next year.”

Illinois’ non-Medicaid funding for prevention and treatment has fallen from $118 million in 2007 to $83 million this year, reducing the number of Illinois residents in treatment from 84,167 to 45,149, according to the most recent data.

“Unfortunately, meth production is starting to increase again across the state,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.

“Attorney General Madigan’s warning about rising meth production underscores the consequence of Illinois’ prevention and treatment budget cuts,” said Howe. “That’s why we need Governor Quinn to preserve Illinois addiction prevention and treatment funds.”

Quinn is scheduled to unveil his fiscal year 2013 Illinois budget proposal on February 22.

IADDA Praises Attorney General Madigan, Governor Pat Quinn’s Effort to Rid Illinois of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

(Chicago, IL) — December 2, 2010. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Liquor Control Commission last week issued letters to manufacturers of caffeinated alcohol drinks demanding they immediately halt the sale of these beverages in Illinois, drawing praise from the state’s top advocacy group against substance abuse.

The demand comes on the heels of a ruling by the federal Food and Drug Administration two weeks ago deeming these drinks unsafe for consumption.

In issuing the letters, Madigan and Quinn warned that failure to adhere to the immediate removal of these drinks could amount to violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The Attorney General emphasized businesses could stand to lose licenses to manufacture, market or sell any alcohol products statewide if they fail to comply.

“With our letter today, we are demanding the last cans and bottles of these dangerous beverages be removed from store shelves in Illinois,” Madigan said. “These drinks glamorize alcohol abuse and threaten the safety of those consuming them.”

“Alcoholic energy drinks exist only to compound the problem of underage drinking because they are marketed toward youth,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “They are a menace.”

“We applaud the action by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Governor Pat Quinn to get these drinks off the market in Illinois; they only add to the risk of addiction and to the risk of death on Illinois highways.”

Youth are more vulnerable to alcoholic energy drinks because they are more likely to take risks and suffer from higher rates of alcohol problems, including traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and suicide, according to a 2007 Marin Institute report “Alcohol, Energy Drinks, and Youth: A Dangerous Mix”.

In 2008, Madigan and the attorneys general of 12 other states initiated investigations of the two leading manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks at that time: Miller-Coors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch Inc. The investigations resulted in the companies’ halt to production of caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

And in May 2007, Madigan joined other attorneys general in urging Anheuser-Busch to change its advertising of another alcoholic energy drink, called Spykes. Anheuser-Busch pulled Spykes from stores in response.

“We hope the alcoholic energy drink manufacturers immediately heed Attorney General Madigan and Governor Quinn’s call,” said Moscato Howe.