State’s heroin problem could be made worse by budget cuts

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Illinois is facing perfect conditions for a drug crisis. That’s according to a report released today on heroin use in Chicagoland. The Roosevelt University study finds that as the problem grows, state funding to fight it is drying up and the consequences are enormous.

It also found heroin use rising among women and young people in Illinois and says among those arrested in Cook County, more are likely to test positive for opiates than anywhere else in the country.

Expanded treatment, advocates claim, could save Illinois tens of millions every year in medical costs, dealing with HIV cases and fighting crime.

But funding for drug treatment programs, already slashed by nearly 30 percent since 2007, will likely be cut even more under state budget cuts.

The governor’s office released a statement today saying,  “Heroin is a serious public health threat facing the State of Illinois, and Governor Rauner looks forward to working with lawmakers on combating this problem. He will carefully consider any legislation that crosses his desk. ”