We recently had an armed robbery of a woman in the West Aurora area.  The police posted a message saying they have arrested the two persons believed to be responsible for the crime.  The posting went into great detail outlining the professional police work that went into the arrest.  Good for them, they did their job and should receive public recognition .  Oh, they also mentioned in part of a sentence,at the very end of the extensive posting, that both the suspects are known to be addicted to heroin.  Here is my response to the police posting.

“Excellent work by APD, Dan, you should be very proud of the work the department did!  My comment in no way is to take away from the professional work done by officers.  The cost of the crime, the work to arrest the suspects, the money it will cost to prosecute them, and pay for possible incarceration will be substantial.  I can tell you as a professional addictions counselor, that I could have the resources to use Narcan to save their lives if they overdosed and call paramedics and hospitalize them for an overdose and maybe even a couple days of detoxification-all of which would cost the State thousands of dollars, because people addicted to heroin seldom have healthcare.  What I could NOT do is get them admitted into a treatment program when they need it-I could get them on a waiting list at some of the great treatment programs we have in this area.  A person with an addiction is dying, but we put them on a waiting list for treatment-can you imagine if we did that for a person with a heart condition, regardless of the cause of that condition or number of other times they sought treatment?  Or here is the Illinois plan, we can wait until a person is found guilty of a crime, send them off to the Department of Corrections, and maybe if they are lucky they can get some treatment for their substance use disorder while we pay to have them in prison.  The Illinois plan gets even better, if they are not lucky enough to get treatment in prison, when they are done with their sentence we can release them to start the cycle all over again.  It’s not a new problem, Illinois under both democrats and republicans have reduced spending for addiction treatment for over 10 straight years!  Do we have a drug crisis in Illinois? I wonder why?”

I would guess that we could run an average size treatment program for a year for the dollars this crime will cost the tax payers of Illinois, and we just might help someone save their life

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