July 22, 2008- (Chicago, IL) – More than 1,000 advocates and clients today marched at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago to urge Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) to return to Springfield and restore more than $43 million to the state budget for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support programs.
Governor Rod Blagojevich recently vetoed the money, and the Illinois House overrode that veto last week.
“If the Senate fails to override the Governor’s veto, the prevention and treatment system in Illinois will throw more than 42,000 people out of care, igniting a health care crisis,” stated Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).
Blagojevich cut $58 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 House was able to override only $43 million of the vetoed money.
If the Governor’s cuts remain, the Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Alcoholism 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%.
A 43% budget reduction will eliminate treatment for 42,140 people out of 98,000 currently served by state-financed community providers, Moscato Howe estimates.
“These cuts will swamp Illinois hospital emergency rooms and local jails with thousands from the fallout of untreated addiction,” said Moscato Howe.
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 Moscato Howe.
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.
“Without the Federal money, every community-based prevention provider will be shuttered,” said Moscato Howe.
“We urge Senator Jones to return to Springfield and override the Governor’s vetoes,” said Moscato Howe.