Quinn Budget to Eliminate 2,500 People—Including 1,000 Women—from Drug, Alcohol Treatment

(Springfield, IL) – As Illinois lawmakers work to assemble a final Illinois budget, substance abuse prevention and treatment advocates today urged legislators to reverse the budget cuts proposed by Governor Pat Quinn that will slash Illinois drug and alcohol treatment for more than 2,500 Illinois residents, including 1,000 women.

“Governor Quinn’s cuts to the Illinois addiction healthcare system will eliminate care for more than 2,500 people, 1,000 of whom are women,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Lawmakers need to reverse the cuts.”

Since 1995, the number of Illinois women in drug, alcohol has surged 41%, but 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 budget cuts the Illinois Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse budget for community treatment providers and funds for addiction prevention for community prevention providers are on a top a 22% cut last year.

“Relentless budget cuts are forcing the Illinois addiction healthcare system into a death spiral and women are increasingly suffering the brunt of the budget pain,” said Howe.

In FY 2009, there 89,909 individuals receiving treatment services, down from 101,105 in FY 2008, a 11.6% decrease.

“By further strangling the drug treatment system, threats to public safety will boil over,” said Howe.

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.

“The threat to public safety is not a hypothetical threat,” said Howe. “There are young people whose lives will be sacrificed to heroin because of prevention funding cuts.”

“We urge Speaker Michael Madigan, Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Governor Quinn to adopt a budget to salvage addiction healthcare in Illinois.”