The answer “We don't have the money” does not wash with Sara Howe. "It's not acceptable,” says the chief executive officer of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association of the governor's amendatory veto of what was touted as comprehensive heroin legislation. The part vetoed addresses $15 million to cover Medicaid treatment, but Howe says the state would actually save $58 million on the back end – health care costs.
“Roosevelt University came out with a study showing that we are worst in the nation for declining treatment capacity with the amount of cuts that the treatment system has sustained,” she adds.
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By the way, who's using heroin? “We're looking a lot at our young adult population,” says Howe. “Young to mid twenties is probably the main population we're seeing, though it's certainly starting in high school.”
Howe says heroin is cheap and easy to get, and prescription opiates are a gateway.
She expects an attempt to override the governor's veto.