Dixon, Illinoiis is attracting statewide attention for a community program that emphasizes quick access to treatment for certain offenders rather than languishing in jail.

“I think it’s an innovative approach that could be duplicated anywhere,” said Cathy Ferguson-Allen, Lee County Health Department.

Dixon’s outpouring prompted a House Substance Abuse Subcommittee hearing at the Old Lee County Courthouse where some argued that early intervention is less costly than waiting.

Rural areas, though, find it tougher to hire and retain medical professionals.

“Access to health care, access to mental health care, access to substance abuse services in rural communities in Illinois is certainly not anywhere near where it needs to be,” said IL Rep. Lou Lang, (D) Skokie.

SOURCE: wqad.com