The havoc heroin and other hard drugs wage costs more than a comprehensive bill attacking the problem and providing for treatment, says the sponsor of the bill – which the governor has amendatorily vetoed. “The Roosevelt University study that just came out shows very clearly that it actually saves us money to treat these folks,” said State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie). “It keeps them out of the prison system. It keeps them out of emergency rooms.”

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The governor has a stated goal of reducing the prison population by 25 percent. Lang says the amendatory vetoes of the heroin bill as well as of a marijuana decriminalization bill would counter that. Among other things, the bill provides for the availability of anti-opioid treatments. The veto message from Gov. Bruce Rauner said the state could not afford the Medicaid-funded treatment in the bill, which a statement from the governor's spokeswoman a day later asserts goes beyond the treatment private insurance would cover. Lang called that explanation “tap dancing.”

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