SAMHSA Awards Funding to Cook County Drug Treatment Courts, including TASC Case Management

(Chicago) – TASC now plays a supporting role in all Cook County Drug Treatment Court programs, thanks to a new federal grant awarded to three suburban drug court programs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded $324,811 to the Circuit Court of Cook County Drug Treatment Court programs in the Markham, Maywood, and Bridgeview courthouses. These programs follow the original such program operating in the Criminal Court Building at 26th Street and California Avenue in Chicago.

Defendants enter the drug courts voluntarily, and all participants have been charged with nonviolent offenses.

“For nonviolent defendants who are driven by drug addiction, the court exercises compassion in the pursuit of justice. Treatment, not punishment, is the best option to pursue,” Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said.

“Many times, these individuals would rather receive a short-term jail sentence so that they can start using again upon release. Instead, we offer a long-term effective treatment plan that can help end their suffering and the suffering of their families and friends. This grant funding will allow us to enhance our existing services and help defendants find a future of sobriety.”

The three suburban courts will now work with case managers from TASC, who will provide clinical assessments of all defendants entering the drug courts. The case managers will determine what level of treatment is needed and whether it will require out-patient or in-patient services. The TASC case managers are also trained to help defendants enroll in Medicaid and also re-enroll as required every year. The coverage under Medicaid can pay for the drug court defendant’s treatment.

Read more.

Advertisements

TASC Opposes the Gutting of Medicaid

(Chicago) – TASC stands in opposition to the proposed massive cuts to Medicaid under the U.S. Senate’s draft Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. We share this opposition with our partners—including the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, and the National Council—along with a majority of Americans.

Under the Senate’s proposed bill, the expansion of Medicaid that occurred under the ACA would be reversed, with phase-out beginning in 2021. By making Medicaid expansion much more expensive for states, they will be more likely to end their expansion programs. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, Illinois was among the majority of states that expanded Medicaid, which provides federally funded health insurance for low-income people. By attacking this key provision, both the U.S. House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Senate’s version of the bill topple the cornerstone upon which significant aspects of Illinois’ interconnected public health and public safety strategies rely.

Additionally, both the House and Senate versions give states the ability to modify or eliminate the ten essential benefit requirements, no longer safeguarding addiction treatment as an essential covered benefit—even as the opioid crisis has caused overdose deaths to skyrocket.

More than three million Illinoisans—almost one-quarter of the state’s population—are enrolled in Medicaid coverage. By diminishing Medicaid coverage, and throwing costs back on the state, the proposed legislation will further burden Illinois’ state budget, already drowning in record deficits. As an example, in behavioral health services alone, the State would have to replace an estimated $80 million per year in federal Medicaid resources to pay for community-based substance use and mental health services that would support alternatives to incarceration and reentry initiatives.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading non-partisan source for health policy analysis, reports that, “The majority of the public – regardless of partisanship – hold favorable views of Medicaid, the government health insurance and long-term care program for low-income adults and children.” Three fourths have a favorable view, and 67 percent say the program is working well for most low-income people in their state.

Drew Altman, the foundations’s president and chief executive wrote, “And you cannot cut over $800 billion from Medicaid without adversely affecting health services for the poor.”

 

Addiction Policy Forum Spotlight on Innovation: Moms and Babies Program at Decatur Correctional Center

(Chicago) – The national Addiction Policy Forum (APF) has published a spotlight feature and video on the Moms and Babies program at the Decatur Correctional Center. This innovative prison nursery and community reentry program is a partnership between the Illinois Department of Corrections, TASC, and a team of partners who work together to provide both in-prison and community-based reentry services for mothers and their babies.

The Moms and Babies program allows incarcerated mothers to keep their newborn infants with them for a specified amount of time, and supports women in developing and nurturing bonds with their babies through a supportive living environment, including parenting classes and clinical programs.

Following release from prison, TASC provides ongoing case management, home visits, and linkages to services in the community. Using a combination of pre-release services and post-release case management, the program builds solid foundations for strong family structures to continue upon release.

In addition to services in Illinois, TASC, through its Center for Health and Justice, offers consulting and training to jurisdictions across the country. For example, working with partners in Montgomery County, Maryland, TASC helped develop the STEER (Stop, Triage, Engage, Educate, Rehabilitate) program, which was previously featured by APF. STEER is a pre-booking law enforcement that links people to drug treatment instead of entry into the justice system.

TASC is a partner in the Addiction Policy Forum, a diverse group of organizations, policymakers, and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction and to improve national policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform.

Click here to see all of the APF program spotlights from across the country.