Senator Steans on the Senate floorCHICAGO – As hospitals, police departments, judges, counselors and coroners grapple with an unprecedented opioid abuse crisis in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to slash funding for local mental health services and addiction treatment.

That’s counterintuitive and irresponsible, said Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“At a time when thousands of Illinoisans are dying across the state from the opioid epidemic, I do not believe it is prudent for the governor to cut funding for addiction and mental health services,” she said. “The opioid crisis is a serious and multi-faceted problem that requires substantial funding.”

According to an Illinois Department of Public Health report published in December, nearly 2,000 Illinoisans died from an opioid-related overdose in 2016, an 82 percent increase since 2013. More people died from opioids than homicides or car crashes in Illinois, the report stated.

The governor’s budget proposes the following cuts:

•    Community mental health services — $48.4 million
•    Addiction treatment for Medicaid-eligible — $16.1 million
•    Addiction prevention services — $483,000

Steans noted that access to medical marijuana can reduce reliance on opioids and help stem the abuse and overdose epidemic in Illinois. A report from Aclara Research revealed that 67 percent of respondents stopped using opioids after using medical cannabis.

“I believe that expanding access to cannabis could reduce the negative impacts of the opioid epidemic,” Steans said. “I think the governor needs to rethink his budget priorities and his policy stance on this issue.”

Senator Steans reacts to the budget address.SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the governor’s budget address:

“This is the closest the Rauner administration has ever come to a real, balanced budget, which I appreciate. That said, I have some serious concerns about his cuts to human services, Medicaid and retired pensioners to whom we have a contractual obligation. I look forward to working across the aisle to tackle Illinois’ fiscal challenges.”

###

Senator Steans in a committee hearingSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the governor’s State of the State address:

“Lawmakers have been working together for months – to craft the Grand Bargain and pass a bipartisan budget that included nearly $3 billion in spending reductions. The person missing in all of those bipartisan efforts was the governor. I hope that he takes his message today to heart and returns to the negotiating table.”

###

Governor should add intractable pain to condition list, not fight it

02072017CM0236 mCHICAGO – Given a choice between showing compassion for those suffering from chronic pain or pursuing a costly legal battle, the Rauner administration should choose compassion, Senator Heather Steans said today.

Steans (D-Chicago) called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to expand access to Illinois’ medical marijuana program by adding intractable pain to the qualifying condition list rather than appeal a judge’s order that the condition be added.

Intractable pain is a severe form of chronic pain that is constant and incurable. It can be resistant to treatment, but some patients can benefit from using medical cannabis.

“Gov. Rauner needs to drop the appeal and allow patients with intractable pain to have access to medical cannabis,” Steans said. “Patients should have an alternative to opioids that doesn’t force them to turn to the black market for medicine.”

A patient with intractable pain recently sued the Illinois Department of Public Health over rejecting her petition to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. A Cook County judge ordered the IDPH director to add it to the list last week.

“It’s time for the governor to show some compassion for Illinoisans who are suffering from severe, life-altering pain and allow them to access medical cannabis for relief,” Steans said.

legislative survey

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
627 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492