* 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.”