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Drug Dependency Group Warns of Dire Budget Situation

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Some substance abuse centers are urging Illinois lawmakers to take out short-term loans to pay off more than $40 million in unpaid bills. Sara Moscato Howe is with the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. She says the loans are necessary even if the borrowing plan lowers the state’s financial rating.

HOWE: We’re at the point where these providers are getting close to shutting down, so is it a risk we’re willing to take? Absolutely, because we believe these services need to continue, and we need to be able to take care of our neediest citizens.

Howe says some treatment providers will have to lay off employees and reduce services next month if the state doesn’t pay up. The state comptroller says Illinois has $5 billion in unpaid bills. Governor Pat Quinn’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

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