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Pritzker talks about opioid crisis

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* The candidate was recently in Macomb and the local paper did a very long write-up of his talk

John Curtis, who was present at the event, asked Pritzker about his stance on the growing issue with opioid use, public concerns over heroin and the continual issue with methamphetamine. Curtis noted he has been asked about the subject matter as he has gone door-to-door in the region as part of his campaign.

“We’ve got to stop talking about it as a war on drugs,” Pritzker said. He said much of the problem is addressing the issue of addiction.

“Really, it’s a health crisis. That’s how it should be treated…as an emergency.“

Pritzker shared a personal story of his mother’s battle with alcohol addiction prior to her death. She and Pritzker’s father were both 39 when he died, and she turned to alcohol after that. For 10 years she battled alcoholism.

“She was on and off the wagon,” Pritzker explained. “But it’s a real thing, alcohol addiction. During that time she had a doctor who was feeding her prescription drugs. I grew up in a home where we all took care of our mother. She died from her addiction. If you need to know why I’ll keep on top of this subject, it’s because I grew up in a home where we had to deal with this. We were lucky. We had friends and family who took care of us and made sure we didn’t fall through the cracks. We knew that we were loved and taken care of. But there are a lot of people who don’t have that and don’t know that.

“When you go two years without a budget as we did, all your treatment diminishes…I know we shouldn’t treat this situation as if people with addiction should go to jail or prison because they’re addicted. If you talk to police officers and sheriffs all across the state, they’ll tell you they’ve got too many people put in jail simply because they’re addicted. We need treatment before we do incarceration that’s for sure. And by the way, that costs you less.“

* The campaign also sent out a press release on this topic today…

Yesterday, an article in the State Journal-Register laid out the grim reality of the opioid epidemic in Illinois. Even as deaths skyrocket and treatment centers flood with people, Bruce Rauner has done nothing but pay lip service and exacerbate the problem.

A recent report by the Illinois Department of Human Services found an increase in drug-related deaths driven primarily by opioids. 1,826 opioid deaths were reported in 2016 alone, representing a 32 percent increase over 2015 and over 80 percent of total drug overdoses for the year. While Rauner has formed a task force to combat the epidemic, in 2015 he vetoed drug treatment funding, and recently announced he will not spend money appropriated for substance abuse services.

“While the opioid epidemic continues to take lives and destroy families, Bruce Rauner is attacking the very organizations and tools needed to combat this crisis,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Rauner’s damage is done and Illinoisans deserve better than this failed governor.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

7 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    Common sense talk. It’s exponentially more expensive and woefully ineffective to treat addiction as a crime issue rather than a health issue.


  2. - DarkHorse - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    While I’m far from a Pritzker fan, it’s the most genuine thing I’ve heard him say. It also highlights, by way of contrast, the damage Rauner’s caused in the way the Gov. has pursued his agenda.


  3. - Mr B. - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    An issue that both sides have to address now.


  4. - illinifan - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    Pritzker is giving more than lip service to these issues and has met with key providers and persons who understand this crisis to begin to develop a plan for how to address this problem if he should be elected. These meetings have taken place without fan fare. When a politician does something without media hype you know they are really engaged in solving the problem as it is not just a media opportunity.


  5. - DeseDemDose - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    Rauner has had a heart of stone throughout his nursing home fiasco and his treatment of social services. Money Grubbers only pretend to care for others.care


  6. - The young gov - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    I am leaning hard towards Biss, but as a criminal justice reform advocate who has also worked on the ground with people suffering from addiction and with an acute awareness of the absolute dearth of good treatment (even before the budget impasse), just reading this makes me think about supporting Pritzker. I am so hopeful that we will have a dem gov in 2019 so we can rebuild and save lives.


  7. - Johnny Tractor - Thursday, Sep 28, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    I keep looking for reasons to not support Mr. Pritzker - I definitely don’t want four more years of Gov. Rauner, and I’m not sure that replacing him with another billionaire is desirable. But then I see statements like the above - he recognizes that we’re dealing with an illness that has grown to an epidemic, he’s got a personal experience with it that helps reinforce that it’s not just an intellectual understanding of the issue, and he acknowledges that he had family support but that it’s unreasonable to expect that all addicts have the same support structure that he enjoyed. It makes me think that if he gets through the primary, he’s going to pull votes from Republicans because of his stated self-awareness and pragmatism.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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