As of March 15, the state of Illinois is cutting its $54 million budget for alcohol and drug treatment and prevention services to zero (full disclosure: I wrote the news summary linked to here).
That's right: zero.
According to providers, that means many of them will shut down.
What's left, without state money? According to provider representatives, about 80 percent of their clients (or about 55,000 people) get treatment funded by the state, leaving 20 percent of their clients who are covered by Medicaid -- -- women only, though. The state will reportedly be cutting the amounts it reimburses for Medicaid services by six percent.
What's not precisely clear from news reports is the impact on youth treatment. Prevention services serving about 230,000 youth a year are definitely gone, but children's treatment can be covered by Medicaid - I'm not sure how that's handled in Illinois. However, in my experience, most treatment agencies rely on the volume of their adult treatment programs to support their youth treatment programs. Without the mix, I would guess that many youth programs -- even those billing Medicaid -- might not survive.
Will other states follow? A commenter on our LinkedIn discussion group, "Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse," wrote:
Unfortunately, I believe my state, Texas, is not far behind. Right now they already have virtually all of the children's mental health and substance abuse services virtually eliminated as well as all the prevention and early intervention funding. Sad times for sure.
Anyone know what's going on in other states? Leave a comment, drop me an email, or leave a comment on our LinkedIn group.
UPDATE March 15, 2011: Maine's governor is proposing cuts that would eliminate residential substance abuse treatment; and according to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) says that most states have significantly cut funding for mental health services in the past two years. (Full disclosure: I wrote both of the posts I just linked to. That's how I found out about them ... )
UPDATE March 18, 2011: Eddy Ameen at sparkaction has a valuable update on the precarious status of state funding for alcohol and drug abuse, and on the Illinois situation specifically. He also confirmed that Texas is also considering similarly drastic cuts to its substance abuse treatment programs.
UPDATE March 23, 2011 - Reader Lore Joplin kindly called my attention to the factd that Eddy Ameen at sparkaction, referred to in my March 18th update, had updated his post with a link indicating that the Illinois cuts might not happen after all, although 2012 still looked bad. I dug up a news article from March 11 reporting that the Illinois governor had found extra money to fund alcohol and drug treatment there through June 30, 2011. As of fiscal 2012 -- which begins July 1, 2011, nothing's changed: all state treatment money is gone.
Updated: February 08 2018