Illinois’ Opioid Initiative


Rep Miller Walsh with Lake County
State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim
and Chairman of LCOI
The opioid epidemic is the most significant public health and public safety crisis facing Illinois, where opioid overdoses have killed nearly 11,000 people since 2008. In 2017 alone, nearly 2,000 people died of overdoses—almost twice the number of fatal car accidents.

As the opioid epidemic continues to have a grave impact, Illinois residents and local officials have looked into various protective measures to help prevent opioid deaths. Lake County has been at the forefront of these efforts through their Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI), which was formed specifically to address the rapidly increasing opiate problem in Lake County. Through this initiative several agencies and groups in the area have worked together to develop a task force and a prevention plan which has been implemented and used as a guideline for the entire State and nation.

Representative Helene Miller Walsh is a supporter of the LCOI and as a resident of Lake County is looking forward to extending her support for the opioid crisis through legislative initiatives in the General Assembly.

“The LCOI was formed under the direction of Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim along with Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran and Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper to develop, implement, evaluate and sustain a multi-strategy, county-wide effort to prevent Opioid abuse, addiction, overdose and death,” said Miller Walsh. “In just a few years LCOI has become the national leader in the fight against this epidemic working with the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force as well as numerous social services. I commend everyone involved with this initiative and thank you for your efforts in Lake County where much success has been achieved.”

Illinois continues to implement measures aimed at combating the opioid crisis and reducing the number of deaths from opioid overdoses. Earlier this summer the State of Illinois was awarded $16 million in federal funding to continue its efforts. To give people the right tools they need to fight opioid addiction, a statewide helpline was created to provide immediate assistance to those impacted by opioid or substance addiction and is available 24/7. This is the only statewide, public resource for finding substance abuse treatment and recovery services in Illinois.

The Illinois helpline is a confidential outlet for individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families, and anyone affected by the disease. Helpline Specialists are trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery support services. To reach the helpline, call 1-833-2FINDHELP or visit helplineil.org. To learn more about the Lake County Opioid Initiative, go to opioidinitiative.org.

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