Illinois Gives Up on Addicts

By Dirk Hanson 03/27/11
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Illinois addicts are left out in the cold.
Photo via mikeandkaren

Yeah, we know all about the deficit, but here’s one short-sighted budgetary cut we ardently hope doesn’t catch on: According to the Illinois News-Gazette, the state of Illinois plans to end all state funding for drug treatment and prevention programs, as part of a package of brutal spending cuts proposed by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. The least expensive ways to deal with addiction—prevention and treatment—are on the chopping block in other states, too. Sara Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, didn’t mince words: “It’s the most devastating picture possible,” she told the News-Gazette. “We’re talking about the majority of programs that we know are effective, that save the state money, and yet they’re killing them off in one swoop.” She added: “People cannot get into treatment, so they are instead turning to hospitals, at a much higher cost.”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]