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August 3, 2000

Governor Ryan Announces Innovative Pilot Program to Treat and Prevent Substance Abuse by Older Adults

PEORIA -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the creation of a new pilot program administered through the state departments of Human Services and Aging for substance abusers aged 60 and older.

The innovative program, which encompasses a two-pronged approach of treatment and training, will be based in Peoria and builds on the governors pledge to increase funding and support prevention programs. The program also illustrates the governor's continued efforts to address problems facing older adults and aging baby-boomers.

"This program is a perfect example of Illinois' agencies working together to solve common problems," Ryan said. "Once we've provided a strong foundation through these two agencies, we can build on this program to expand the opportunities for treatment and prevention statewide."

The pilot program costs $186,000 and is funded through DHS with general revenue funds. The program's services encompass several unique attributes that are not found in substance abuse treatment programs for younger abusers. For example, older adults will receive in-home services and may benefit from a holistic approach to psychological, social, and health problems, including a slower treatment pace.

"Adults over the age of 65 comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population and are important role models and caretakers for many families," said DHS Secretary Linda Renee Baker.

"However, issues related to substance abuse among seniors often go undetected. This program, with the assistance of the Department on Aging, will help some of our older citizens receive the help and treatment they need."

Services will be administered through the Human Services Center of Peoria, which will provide substance abuse services, and the Central Agency on Aging, which will provide nursing assistance and referral services.

"Research indicates that older adults are more likely to complete treatment and have outcomes that are as good or better than their younger counterparts," said Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber. "I am excited about this partnership and look forward to implementing the program's dual training and educational approach."

A core of professionals will staff the program, including a certified substance abuse counselor, outreach worker and case manager. A physician and a psychologist will provide consulting services. The staff members will work together and go into the home of the senior to identify their needs, formulate a treatment plan, council the client and provide family therapy.


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