Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti praised DeKalb County Tuesday for its cooperative efforts in handling the opioid crisis.
Sanguinetti made the comments as part of a roundtable discussion with health, law enforcement, and government officials from around DeKalb County. They highlighted local efforts such as drug court, health counseling, and expanded access to Narcan, an anti-overdose medication.
Sanguinetti says it can be difficult for some areas to get past the stigma of treating opioid addiction.
“A lot of communities don’t know that opioid use disorder is a disease, and we need to treat a disease with treatment, not with incarceration, not with any sort of punishment. We need to put these people on a path to recovery.”
Sanguinetti says the Rauner administration pushed for a standing order making it easier for people to get Narcan and set up a statewide 800-number to connect opioid addicts with treatment. She said she’s also advocating for more drug treatment programs and for insurance companies to reimburse for telemedicine treatment. This, she says, will provide more treatment options to rural areas without significant medical infrastructure.