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.