Cuts to State Funded Addiction Programs Worries Advocates

By Staff Writer

Drug rehab program workers in Illinois are expressing concern over the latest budget proposal from the state’s governor, which threatens to cut all funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.

Sara Howe, the CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association told Medill Reports: Chicago that Medicaid patients would still have addiction services covered. However, she estimated that 80 percent of the 69,000 state residents currently in treatment are not on a Medicaid plan. This would make it difficult for them to seek addiction treatment services.

The state is currently grappling with a massive budget deficit, and Pat Quinn, the state’s governor, has said that it cannot afford to continue funding these types of programs.

However, Howe told the news source that cutting addiction treatment and prevention programs could hurt the budget down the line. Spending a little on heading off substance abuse may save the state on future addiction-related healthcare law enforcement costs, which tend to be significantly higher.

Illinois is not alone in considering cuts to substance abuse services. Utah, Florida and Washington are also currently considering limiting funding or removing programs, according to media reports.