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.

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Fresh Round of Illinois Budget Cuts Shutter Substance Abuse Treatment Services in Central Illinois

IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe

(Springfield, IL) – Another punishing round of Illinois state government budget cuts to substance abuse treatment services approved by the legislature in May, averaging 26%, is triggering program closures and employee layoffs in Central Illinois.

“Though the Illinois General Assembly restored 75% of the substance abuse cuts proposed by Governor Pat Quinn, the 25% cut approved by lawmakers is still forcing program closures and employee layoffs,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

The Illinois fiscal year 2012 budget signed by Quinn, which began on July 1, reduces state funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment from $63 million in fiscal year 2011 to $47 million this year. In fact, over the past five years state funding has declined from $112 million to $47 million, according to Howe.

The latest round of budget cuts has forced the recent announcements of planned closures of treatment programs in both Champaign and Peoria.

The Urbana-based Prairie Center closed its detox program, which serves individuals from 62 Illinois counties, on September 1, eliminating service to 700 to 800 people and laying off 7 employees. The Illinois Department of Human Services, led by Secretary Michelle Saddler, cut $450,000 from The Prairie Center’s budget this year.

“Hospitals and emergency rooms will also be notified regarding the impact of these cuts,” said Bruce Suardini, The Prairie Center CEO. “Between 700 and 800 patients will lose services each year.”

In Peoria, the Human Services Center is closing its women’s residential treatment program, eliminating capacity for 125 women annually and laying off 27 employees on September 23, 11 of whom will come from the women’s program. Saddler’s agency cut $2,000,000 from the Human Services Center budget this year.

“It’s shameful that the State is limiting access to treatment for women in need and turning them out of their shelter” said CEO Fred Nirdé.

Howe is calling on the governor and top human service budget lawmakers to restore funding to this year’s budget for substance abuse prevention and treatment.

“Governor Quinn and State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and State Senator Heather Steans need to restore funding to prevention and treatment services as soon as possible to avoid the piece-meal collapse of an Illinois behavioral health care system that is already in shambles,” said Howe.

Gov. Pat Quinn Rescinds Proposed Elimination of Illinois Alcohol, Drug Treatment Funding

(Springfield, IL) – March 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn’s Administration yesterday announced that it had rescinded the proposed elimination of all state funding for non-Medicaid substance abuse prevention and treatment services.

“This afternoon, I received a call from Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler informing me that the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has recommended no additional state revenue reductions from addiction treatment in FY11, leaving all provider contracts unchanged for the rest of the year,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

Secretary Saddler stressed, however, that this recommendation does include the projected savings of $7 million of Medicaid funding that DASA believes they can achieve through the implementation of Utilization Management, according to Howe.

“This funding decision means that providers who had frozen admissions for DASA-funded clients should be able to starting accepting new clients as early as today,” said Howe.

On the prevention front, the Secretary indicated that the ‘addiction prevention’ line will not be cut any further in FY11, but that the governor’s budget office is still looking at possible reductions in the Methamphetamine Awareness line, says Howe.

“The Secretary will update me once a decision has been made,” said Howe.

“As an Association, we have successfully educated legislators and the news media alike on the impact of the full elimination of state GRF funding for our services,” said Howe.

“Nevertheless, we still have much work to do on Governor Quinn’s FY12 budget, which also calls for elimination of state funding for prevention and treatment services.”

“In the meantime, we must thank State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, Senator Mattie Hunter and other lawmakers who were crucial to the restoration of funding for addiction health care.”

Uncertainty over Gov. Pat Quinn’s Mid-Year Budget Cuts Freezes Drug Treatment for New Clients around Illinois

State Reps. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and Greg Harris (D-Chicago) announced at a press conference last week that they are sponsoring House Resolution 106 that calls on Governor Pat Quinn to halt the elimination of funding for substance abuse treatment services.

(Springfield, IL) — Despite Governor Pat Quinn’s statement last week that mid-year budget cuts announced earlier by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) would be reduced to avoid a complete elimination of state funded substance abuse prevention and treatment services, the uncertainly of the actual amount to be cut in the next two weeks has prompted some treatment providers to refuse new clients.

“While we appreciate Governor Quinn’s good intentions,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “We are not out of the woods yet, because multiple providers around Illinois, who are fearful of the magnitude of still unspecified cuts, have frozen treatment services for new, non-Medicaid eligible clients.”

On Friday, February 18, DHS Secretary Michelle Saddler suddenly informed Howe that all state funding for non-Medicaid alcohol and drug treatment services would be eliminated by March 15 as part of an effort of the Quinn Administration to cut $208 million from the department’s budget, prompting providers to halt the intake of new clients.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) opposed the cuts, saying, “It’s not the right move.”

Quinn later reduced the amount to $100 million after advocates protested and more than two-dozen lawmakers, lead by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), introduced a House resolution calling on Quinn to cancel the cuts that would eliminate treatment services for 55,000 clients out of the 69,000 currently being served.

“Neither Governor Quinn nor Secretary Saddler have yet identified where the $100 million in cuts will fall,” said Howe. “As a result, the mid-year budget crisis remains unresolved and a freeze on accepting new clients is in place in various parts of the state, denying treatment for those desperately seeking it.”

Howe noted that the Haymarket Center in Chicago currently has a freeze on new, non-Medicaid eligible clients. The South Suburban Council in suburban East Hazel Crest is operating below capacity, accepting only a few new clients. Meanwhile, the Prairie Center in Urbana is also accepting only a trickle of new clients for residential treatment, leaving 12 of its 24 beds empty, until they learn the magnitude of the cuts to be announced within the next two weeks.

“The uncertainty is as harmful as the cuts themselves because of the disruption of services,” said Howe. “We need both predictable and adequate funding to keep treatment services flowing.”

Illinois Now Owes Substance Abuse Agencies $46 Million, a 35% Jump in 4 Weeks

(Springfield, IL) – November 10, 2010. The amount of money that the Illinois Department of Human Services owes to community-based substance abuse prevention and treatment agencies has increased from $34 million at the beginning of October to $46 million in November, a 35% increase, according to advocates.

“Payments to providers are drying up,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Howe. “In October, the state owed $34 million to our prevention and treatment providers. Now it owes $46 million for some bills that stretch back seven months.”

In September, an IADDA survey of its members revealed that the state owed local providers $34 million for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. A follow-up survey conducted earlier this month showed that amount had grown for both budget years to $46 million.

“Our agencies have essentially drained their lines of credit and exhausted their ability to guarantee paychecks to employees who are critical to the state’s critical prevention and treatment system,” said Howe.

The Human Resources Center of Edgar and Clark Counties located in Central Illinois is one of the agencies whose payroll is now in jeopardy. The state owes the agency over $500,000, including $153,000 from last fiscal year.

“Making payroll is touch and go. We do not have any remaining reserves and our line of credit has been exhausted, with no borrowing capacity remaining and no marketable assets to sell,” said Executive Director Ken Polky. “On November 19th we may be forced to choose between paying our employees and paying our vendors.”

Howe warned that unless Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Human Services can find money to pay some of its bills, many agencies will be unable to care for thousands of people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

“Agencies enter into contracts with the state to provide services with the understanding that they will be paid for the services they render,” said Howe. “The state’s failure to pay its bills places communities and the people in need of prevention and treatment services in jeopardy.”

Quinn Chief of Staff, Michelle Saddler to Be Lead Speaker at IADDA Conference

Michelle Saddler, Chief of Staff to Governor Pat Quinn

(Springfield, IL) – September 2, 2010.  Governor Pat Quinn’s newly-appointed chief of staff, Michelle Saddler, will serve as the opening speaker at the annual conference of Illinois’ top alcohol, drug advocacy group.

Saddler,  who served as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services prior to her appointment to the top post on the Governor’s staff, recently confirmed her attendance at the 43rd Annual Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association Conference: “Navigating Change: Setting a Course for Success“.

In her role as the human services chief, Saddler worked tirelessly on behalf of community-based social welfare agencies, according to IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

“As Secretary, Michelle Saddler strove relentlessly to minimize the impact of statewide budget cuts on Illinois’ most vulnerable populations,” said Howe. “We expect the same commitment as chief of staff.”

“We are pleased and honored that Ms. Saddler will welcome conference attendees as the opening speaker for our 2010 IADDA annual conference,” Howe added.

The IADDA conference will be held September 15-17, 2010, at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville.

Quinn, Lawmakers Urged to Support $74 Million Schoenberg Plan to Boost Drug, Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment to Protect Youth

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois’ leading addiction healthcare advocates today called on Governor Pat Quinn and top lawmakers to support legislation to give a $74 million financial boost to community addiction

State Senator Jeff Schoenberg

State Senator Jeff Schoenbergprevention and treatment providers who are relentlessly confronting deadly accidents involving youth linked to alcohol or drugs.

“Alcohol abuse and drunk driving continue to exact a terrible, deadly toll on youth and children in communities throughout Illinois,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Addiction is recession-proof.”

“We are calling on Governor Pat Quinn, Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate

Senate President John Cullerton

Senate President John Cullerton

Minority Leader Christine Radogno to support Senator Jeff Schoenberg’s legislation to invest an additional $74 million this year into under-funded addiction healthcare services,” said Moscato Howe.

“We recognize the state faces tough budget problems, but we can’t put a price tag on saving peoples’ lives,” Moscato Howe added.

Schoenberg’s legislation, Senate Bill 1856, would appropriate an additional $18,100,000 to community based addiction treatment for Medicaid eligible individuals and KidCare enrolled children.  The legislation would also appropriate an additional $6,000,000 to expand addiction prevention services for youth.

The bill is currently in the Senate Assignment Appropriations I Committee.

Moscato Howe also noted an Illinois Department of Human Services study revealed that in 2006 nearly 40% of Illinois 12th graders had ridden in a car with a drunk or high teenager in the last year and 30% had had the same experience with a drunk or high adult.

“Illinois youth are at risk of harm and death by their alcohol and drug use and adults’ use too,” said Moscato Howe. “Governor Quinn and lawmakers must act now to increase investment in the addiction healthcare system. Saving lives must be a priority even in a recession”

“We urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to debate the risks faced by Illinois youth from drugs and alcohol and then approve the bill quickly,” said Moscato Howe.

The Senate Appropriations Committee includes: Senators Donne Trotter, Jeff Schoenberg, Jacqueline Collins, William Delgado, Mattie Hunter, Mike Jacobs, Emil Jones III, Matt Murphy, Pamela Althoff, Tim Bivins, Chris Lauzen, and Dave Syverson.