A philanthropist has come forward with a $1 million dollar donation after lawmakers did away with the bulk of state support for drug prevention. Highland Park resident Larry Goodman, who owns a commercial real estate firm, is giving a three-year grant to a statewide program that steers teens away from drugs. Goodman says he was compelled to make the donation because his 22-year-old granddaughter died in 2002 from a heroin overdose:
"You see if we spend money on prevention, you have to spend a LOT less money on treatment. There's no comparison. You save billions of dollars by preventing. It's a no brainer."
Many communities in Illinois say heroin use is on the rise, especially among teens and of all income levels. Goodman says a few years ago, he wouldn't have imagined the state would withdraw support from drug prevention. He says the lawmakers' cuts are unconscionable. Illinois' funding of substance abuse prevention has dropped 87-percent since 2007. Goodman says he's going to push to get Governor Pat Quinn to be more involved with prevention efforts. Goodman's donation will fund the Springfield-based Teen Institute, which does outreach statewide.
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