opioid epidemic

The Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General visited several northern Illinois organizations this week. The stop included Opportunity House in Sycamore.

During a stop at the WNIJ studios, Erika Harold says one of her campaign priorities is combating the opioid epidemic in the state. She also says the epidemic is an issue that Attorneys General from multiple states can work on together.

brucerauner.com

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.  

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A proposal to allow the temporary use of cannabis instead of opioids for pain management was approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Treatment is one piece of the puzzle in tackling the opioid epidemic. But people seeking help in Illinois may face another major challenge … paying for it. Health insurance companies pose different requirements for getting these medications. Some physicians say this can lead patients back to the streets. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jessie Schlacks looks at obstacles for people ready to defeat their addiction ... and how lawmakers are trying to fill the gaps.

"SPILLS PILLS PILLS" BY FLICKR USER OLIVER.DODD / (CC x 2.0)

The opioid epidemic continues to plague communities across Illinois. For the state’s youth, the biggest threat may be hiding in their home medicine cabinet.

In 2016, there were nearly 1,500 prescription opioid overdose deaths in Illinois—a number that quadrupled in 3 years, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. Studies suggest that more youth are experimenting, and dying, from prescription pills.

The Illinois State Police will now house receptacles for people to safely dispose of unused pills. Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle says it’s greatly needed.

Jessie Schlacks/WNIJ

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’s not seeing enough statewide progress in addressing the opioid addiction crisis.  

The Democratic senator visited Mercyhealth in Rockford Wednesday for a roundtable conversation with doctors, first responders, treatment specialists and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. 

Participants echoed a similar theme: they're strapped when it comes to finances to provide adequate services. 

Emily Reed/WNIJ

As the death toll climbs for opioid-related overdoses in Illinois, state leaders are looking for solutions. Advocates have highlighted a Whiteside County Clinic as a state leader in its outpatient drug rehabilitation program. WNIJ's Jessie Schlacks went to Rock Falls to tour the facility:

Whitney Miller is case manager of the Medication Assisted Treatment program - or MAT - at the Whiteside County Clinic.