Illinois Governor’s Proposal to Slash Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Failing
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Dramatic cuts in Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget, which he announced in February, has many people up in arms.
In an effort to close a more than $6 billion budget hole next year, the governor’s plan to slash spending includes cutting over $87 million in mental health treatment services and over $34 million in addiction treatment services.
These cuts would eliminate psychiatric services for people living with mental illnesses and many services for young adults in the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), according to Thresholds, which provides healthcare and housing for people with mental illnesses in Illinois.
Cuts to addiction treatment services include a 10% reduction to heroin addiction treatment services and a 20% reduction to services for DCFS kids.
“We must be wiling to take actions we’d rather avoid and make decisions that may seem unpopular,” Rauner said during his first budget address in February.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart delivered a letter to the governor’s office following the budget proposal, in which he argued against the cuts: “Cutting already strained mental health programs; alcoholism and substance abuse treatment programs; criminal justice services and youth services does nothing to make Illinois a place people want to live,” he wrote.
“Morality aside, such tactics … are simply bad budgeting,” Dart continued in the letter. “When mental health and substance abuse programs are shuttered, where do you think the people ending that care end up?”
“We know, all too often, they end up in the most costly government system of all, the criminal justice system. Once there, costs for prosecution and incarceration start racking up every minute, every day, every month.”