Governor Signs Illinois Law Enforcement Diversion Bill, First of Its Kind in the Nation

(Springfield) – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed groundbreaking legislation on Wednesday that authorizes local law enforcement leaders and community partners to create local programs that “deflect” individuals who have substance use problems away from the justice system and into addiction treatment services.

Senate Bill 3023, also known as the Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act, sponsored by Senators Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and Representatives Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-Chicago) and Tom Demmer (R-Rochelle), encourages partnerships between law enforcement, substance use treatment providers, and community members to guide the development of deflection programs in their communities.

As part of a package of critical legislation to support access to treatment for substance use and mental health disorders, Governor Rauner also signed SB682, which removes prior authorizations for certain levels of substance use disorders; SB1707, which adds critical parity enforcement and transparency provisions to the state law; SB2951, which pilots an early mental health treatment program, and SB3049, the Medicaid Telehealth Act.

“The members of the General Assembly delivered great results,” said Governor Rauner at a signing ceremony at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation in Springfield. “Illinois is now a proud leader in these efforts. I’m honored and proud to sign these five bills.”

Among the law enforcement leaders attending the signing ceremony were Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther and Dixon City Manager and former Police Chief Danny Langloss, who, along with TASC, helped conceptualize SB3023. The legislation was informed by Guenther’s and Langloss’ direct experience leading pre-arrest diversion programs (also known as law enforcement “deflection” programs), as the police departments of Mundelein and Dixon already operate such programs.

“Senate Bill 3023 is the first of its kind legislation and recognizes a paradigm shift in law enforcement’s approach to those who struggle with substance use,” said Guenther. “I am very proud to have been a part of creating this legislation.”

“This is a hopeful day for Illinois law enforcement and those suffering from substance use disorder,” added Langloss. “The national opioid epidemic continues to impact every community. More than 72,000 Americans lost their lives last year to drug overdose. Behind every death there is a family.

“With this bill, the police now have new programs at their disposal that save lives and make our communities safer,” he said.

“With the passage of Senate Bill 3023, Illinois is leading the way on police deflection to substance use treatment,” said TASC Policy Director Laura Brookes. “These programs provide an immediate warm hand-off to treatment, and give police a new tool for getting people the help they need even before crisis sets in.”

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) will lead the development of a set of minimum data to be collected in such programs and, for those that receive funding, serve as a performance measurement system.

“The data collection provisions mean that departments will be able to improve their programs and allow equal access to them regardless of race or ethnicity or any other factors,” said Brookes.

“We thank Governor Rauner, the bill’s sponsors, our partners in law enforcement, and all who supported this landmark legislation.”

Among the many groups filing their support for the bipartisan legislation were the League of Women Voters of Illinois, Illinois State University Police, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, the Chicago Urban League, and the City of Chicago Heights.

SB3023 becomes effective on January 1, 2019.

August 22, 2018 signing of Illinois Senate Bill 3023 (l. to r.): Chief Steve Howell (Dixon Police Dept.), Laura Brookes (TASC), Chief Brian Fengel (Bartonville Police Dept. and President of IL Assn. of Chiefs of Police), IL Governor Bruce Rauner, Chief Eric Guenther (Mundelein Police Dept.), Chief Dan Ryan (Leland Grove Police Dept.), Danny Langloss (City of Dixon), and Jeff Ragan (Dixon Police Dept.)

August 22, 2018: Governor Bruce Rauner signs five bills supporting access to substance use and mental health treatment, flanked by advocates including Sara Howe (left), CEO of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health.


Anthony Harden, TASC Youth Services Administrator, Receives IADDA Award for Distinguished Service

Anthony Harden, recipient of IADDA’s 2014 C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award, is congratulated by his wife, Gloria, and TASC team members. Left to right: Alisa Montgomery-Webb, Gloria Harden, Anthony Harden, Maxie Knighten, Alicia Kusiak, and Janelle Prueter.

Anthony Harden, recipient of IADDA’s 2014 Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award, with (left to right): Alisa Montgomery-Webb, TASC Youth Reentry Services Administrator; Gloria Harden; Maxie Knighten, TASC Juvenile Justice Services Team Leader; Alicia Kusiak, TASC Director of Cook County Services; and Janelle Prueter, TASC Vice President of Operations.

(Chicago) – Recognized for his tireless advocacy on behalf of youth and families in need of health services, TASC Youth Services Administrator Anthony Harden was honored September 4 by the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

Harden received the 2014 Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award at the association’s annual conference in Lisle. IADDA presents the award each year in memory of Dr. Bakeman, a pioneer in the field of addiction prevention and treatment who envisioned a society where all people have equal access to these essential health services.

“Just to be nominated for the Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award is an honor,” said Harden, “but to be selected is humbling and overwhelming.”

Paying tribute to the award’s namesake, he said, “Dr. Bakeman’s vision and legacy are consistent with our mission at TASC, as well as with our partners here at IADDA – to educate the public that substance abuse is a health issue.”

Harden offered that Dr. Bakeman’s commitment to equal access to substance use treatment is closer to being realized, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. For example, TASC provides application assistance for individuals detained at the Cook County Jail, which “not only for the first time gives many access to health insurance for their general well-being, but also access to treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues,” said Harden. “This is how we honor the leadership and legacy of Dr. Bakeman – by advocating, not just treatment for those who could afford it, but also treatment for everyone in need.”

He added that he would be remiss not to mention Dr. Bakeman’s insistence in advocating for all cultures, in particular for people of color.

“Years ago I heard Vince speak in Springfield at the Black Caucus convention,” recalled Harden. “He stated that one of the best models to address substance abuse is the 12-step program – but that it was designed for white, middle class, employed men. He advocated for communities of color to develop their own culturally-specific approaches and provide treatment and services to their own within their own communities. In other words, we need to make 12 steps inclusive; we need to make them fit who we’re serving – the unemployed, females, the homeless, the uninsured and the disfranchised. I think Dr. Bakeman would be proud of how far we have come today. But the work is not finished and I have no doubt my colleagues will not rest until it is so.”

TASC President Pamela Rodriguez presented the award to Harden, honoring his dedicated service and compassion for clients and staff.

“We are so proud to recognize your work, Anthony,” said Rodriguez. “Your heart goes into everything you do, and we see that in your quiet leadership and steady purpose in giving kids in the justice system a fair chance to succeed.”

“As Anthony’s colleague and friend, it is a pleasure to recognize his many achievements,” added TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca, who served as IADDA board chair from 2010 to 2012. “Anthony cares profoundly about creating opportunities for youth so they can grow up safely and participate in society in healthy and meaningful ways.”

Harden extended appreciation to his colleagues, many of whom were in attendance to celebrate his accomplishments, and his wife, Gloria, for her unwavering support. Thanking IADDA board members and CEO, Sara Howe, as well as TASC’s executive team for their advocacy on behalf of clients, families, and staff, Harden offered special appreciation for his juvenile services team, led by Maxie Knighten. “They are the true frontline soldiers and without them none of this is possible.”

With more than 20 years of dedicated service at TASC, Harden leads the agency’s services for the Juvenile Drug Court in Cook County, as well as TASC’s programs in partnership with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He serves on several committees and boards, including the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Executive Committee, the Austin Community Coalition for Healthy Lifestyles, and the UIC PHAT (Preventing HIV/AIDS Among Teens) Community Advisory Board.

Established in 1967, IADDA is a statewide advocacy organization that represents more than 50 organizations across Illinois that provide substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services. TASC is a member agency of IADDA.


Governor Pat Quinn at Drug Prevention Symposium: “We don’t ever, ever want to leave a person behind”; Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Neil Steinberg Discusses Personal Experience in Recovery

Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation and Roosevelt University Partner for Drug Prevention; TASC’s Peter Palanca Moderates Panel Discussion; Rev. Tommie Johnson Honored

(Chicago, IL)  — Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Sun-Times columnists Bill Zwecker and Neil Steinberg, and numerous drug prevention advocates gathered at Roosevelt University on October 11 to discuss stigma and solutions in preventing substance abuse.

Overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan on Thursday afternoon, Roosevelt’s Murray Green Library Auditorium was filled with more than 200 parents, students, social workers, and community leaders concerned about substance abuse that is harming youth in rural, suburban, and urban areas alike.

Governor Pat Quinn attended Friday’s symposium and listened to the impassioned voices of family members and prevention specialists. The Governor offered opening remarks and spoke to traditions of democracy, including the necessity of protecting children from drugs. “Everyone’s life is special,” he said. “We don’t ever, ever want to leave a person behind.”

The afternoon symposium and panel discussion, emceed by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker, focused on stories and strategies to save children from addiction.

“Every 15 minutes we lose one of our citizens to drug addiction,” said philanthropist Larry Goodman, who lost his granddaughter, Cebrin, to drug addition. “That’s four per hour, 100 per day.”

Larry Goodman and his late wife Lillian established The Cebrin Goodman Center in Cebrin’s memory to educate teens, parents, and communities about substance abuse and other issues affecting young people today. Cebrin died from a heroin overdose in 2002 shortly after graduating from college.

The Goodman family presented awards to Illinoisans who have performed extraordinary service in prevention. Robert Grupe received the Goodman Award for Excellence in Drug Abuse Prevention, and Marcia Doniger was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  TASC Recovery Support Services Coordinator Tommie Johnson was one of 10 people recognized as an Outstanding Preventionist of the Year. Through TASC and with his Outside the Walls ministry, Reverend Johnson gives hope and opportunity to people who have been incarcerated.

Keynote speaker Neil Steinberg, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, offered his personal perspectives as a person in recovery from alcoholism. As a journalist and writer, Mr. Steinberg had once viewed addiction and treatment mostly with an analytical eye. Then he was forced to go to treatment for his own alcoholism.

“Sometimes you do the right things for the wrong reasons,” he recalled. “I was a writer, writing a book, doing research.” A few weeks into the treatment program, to which he had submitted partially because it seemed an interesting experience worth recording, he acknowledged that he himself was addicted. “I realized, this really is a problem. I can’t stop drinking.”

Initially for the sake of his marriage, and ultimately for faithfulness to life itself, Mr. Steinberg stuck with the process of treatment and recovery. Describing settings and circumstances where drinking alcohol remains routine for others, he spoke to the truth of the “one day at a time” aphorism, which helps millions of people maintain their daily victories over brain signals that have been permanently altered by addiction. “I’ve got today locked down,” he said, “and I’m fairly confident about tomorrow, and after that, I’m still working on it.”

Following Mr. Steinberg’s remarks, TASC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Palanca moderated a panel discussion on prevention. “There are many ways to get to where we want to get,” said Palanca, “and that’s to spare families from the pain and loss of a loved one.”

Sara Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) highlighted the importance of public policies to support effective prevention and intervention strategies and programs. She also emphasized that prevention must be community-based and tailored to the needs and norms of individual communities, and directly inclusive of youth voices and perspectives. For instance, the idea of IADDA’s Operation Snowball is that positive peer reinforcement can snowball from one youth to another.

Dr. Celeste Napier, director of the Research and Recovery Center for Compulsive Behaviors and Addiction at the Rush University Medical Center agreed that positive options and youth-centered messages work. ‘We need to tool our teenagers with these very good substitutions.They’re wired to be persuaded by their peers.”

Dr. Napier described the biological functioning of the adolescent brain, including natural tendencies toward risk-taking and susceptibility to addiction. When it comes to stigma around the use of different drugs, addiction is nonselective in whom it picks. “We’re talking about brain biology,” she said. “Addiction does not discriminate.”

Dr. Kristina Peterson, assistant professor of Counseling and Human Services at Roosevelt University, cautioned against complacency in prevention, intervention, and treatment. She advised prevention professionals and parents to stay informed and keep an open mind “because things change quickly and each person is different.”

Dr. Peterson told of an exercise she gives to her students to help them understand addiction. Students volunteer to go two weeks without using anything that can be addictive, and they keep journals to record the surprising challenges they face in, for example, living without caffeine for a few days. “If they’re going to be social workers, they have to know,” said Dr. Peterson.

Ed Stellon, senior director of the Heartland Center for Systems Change at the Heartland Alliance, spoke of the importance of open lines of communication with young people, and the healing power of trusting relationships. “It’s a process,” he said of youth who experiment with addictive substances. “At every point there’s an opportunity for intervention.”

From their perspectives as researchers, professors, practitioners, and parents, all the panelists agreed that the realities of addiction cannot be ignored. “Said Dr. Napier, “Our society is going to fail if we cannot get our hands around this addiction problem.”

Governor Pat Quinn congratulates TASC’s Tommie Johnson on being honored as an Outstanding Preventionist by the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation.

Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation to Honor Partners in Drug Abuse Prevention; Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Scheduled to Attend

10/11/12 Awards Ceremony and Symposium on Stigma in Prevention: TASC’s Peter Palanca will moderate and Tommie Johnson will be recognized

(Chicago, IL) — Illinios Governor Pat Quinn is scheduled to attend the inaugural awards ceremony and symposium on stigma in drug prevention which will be held at Roosevelt University on Thursday, October 11, 2012 from 3 pm to 5:45 pm, followed by a networking reception. This event is free and open to the public. Please register here.

Author and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg will deliver the keynote speech and share his own struggles with alcohol, followed by a panel discussion with a team of experts on substance use, abuse, and stigma. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker will emcee the event, and TASC’s Peter Palanca will moderate.

Ten individuals from across the state of Illinois will be recognized by the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation the as Outstanding Preventionists of the year. Among the award recipients, Rev. Tommie Johnson, recovery support services coordinator for TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) will be honored for his “Outside the Walls” ministry and his exceptional dedication to prevention and services for people who have been incarcerated.

Where: Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 10th Floor, Auditorium (Murray Green) Library
When: Thursday, October 11, 2012 from 3 pm to 5:45 pm, with networking following Cost: Free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested:

The panel discussion will include:

  • Peter Palanca (Moderator), Executive Vice President, TASC, Inc.
  • Neil Steinberg, Writer, Chicago Sun-Times and author of Drunkard: A Hard Drinking Life
  • Sara Howe, CEO, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA)
  • Dr. Celeste Napier, Professor, Department of Pharmacology at Rush University and Director of the Research and Recovery Center for Compulsive Behaviors and Addiction
  • Dr. Kristina Peterson, Assistant Professor of Counseling and Human Services, Roosevelt University
  • Ed Stellon, MS, MA, CADC, senior director of Heartland Center for Systems Change at Heartland Health Outreach

For professionals who register, two CEUs and CPDUs will be available. The event is co-sponsored by the Cebrin Goodman Center and Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy and College of Education.

The Cebrin Goodman Center has awarded millions of dollars in grants to local and national teen drug prevention programs. Ten years ago, Lillian and Larry Goodman’s granddaughter Cebrin lost her battle with drug addiction. “Educating teens, parents, and communities about substance abuse is the answer,” said Larry Goodman, chairman. “Our mission is to spare other families the pain of losing a loved one.”

Rev. Tommie Johnson inspires attendees at “Outside the Walls: A Day of Family Unity and Community Reconciliation,” September 2012

Illinois House Panel to Vote on Resolution Calling for Immediate Halt to Gov. Quinn’s Elimination of Drug Treatment Funding

(Springfield, IL) — From the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association:

An Illinois House legislative panel is slated to hold a vote this week on a House resolution calling on Governor Pat Quinn to halt a plan by his administration to eliminate all state funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment services.

The measure, House Resolution 106, which is being sponsored by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and 34 other Democratic and Republican lawmakers, faces a vote in the House Human Services Committee on Wednesday, March 9.

On Friday, February 18, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler unexpectedly informed Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe that all state funding for non-Medicaid alcohol and drug prevention and treatment services would be eliminated by March 15. The move was part of an effort by the Quinn Administration to cut $208 million from the department’s budget, prompting providers to halt services to new clients

After an outcry by prevention and treatment advocates, Quinn reduced the department’s budget cut from $208 million to $100 million to avoid a complete elimination of state-funded substance abuse prevention and treatment services. However, the uncertainly of the actual amount to be cut in the next two weeks has prompted some treatment providers to freeze intake of new clients.

“Governor Quinn has refused to say equivocally that substance abuse prevention and treatment services are no longer slated for elimination for the remainder of the fiscal year,” said Howe. “That’s why we think that the House Human Services Committee must approve Rep. Feigenholtz’s resolution.”

Quinn’s proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget, which begins on July 1, 2012, has also targeted state funding for substance prevention and treatment for complete elimination. That move would end alcohol and drug treatment for 55,000 out of the 69,000 people helped in Illinois each year.

The hearing will be held in the Stratton Office Building, Room D-1, in Springfield at 8:00 a.m.

In addition to Feigenholtz, the resolution’s sponsors included State Representatives:

Chad Hays, Patricia R. Bellock, Keith Farnham, Daniel Biss, Mary E. Flowers, La Shawn K. Ford, Robyn Gabel, Lou Lang, Maria Antonia Berrios, Esther Golar, Greg Harris, Constance A. Howard, David R. Leitch, Rita Mayfield, Michael W. Tryon, Linda Chapa LaVia, Thomas Holbrook, Deborah Mell, Naomi D. Jakobsson, Michael P. McAuliffe, Jim Watson, Patrick J. Verschoore, Dave Winters, Robert W. Pritchard, Ann Williams, Jack McGuire, William Davis, Lisa M. Dugan, Mark H. Beaubien, Jr., Dennis M. Reboletti, Karen A. Yarbrough, Daniel J. Burke, Annazette Collins and Dan Brady.