Opioid Task Force embarks on a listening tour of Illinois

CHICAGO, Ill. (KWQC) - The Governor’s new Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force is touring the state this week visiting communities in search of information and partners to help implement the state’s Opioid Action Plan to curtail the growing opioid overdose epidemic in Illinois.

The listening events will be in Chicago, Champaign and Mt. Vernon.

“The opioid epidemic knows no neighborhood, no color, and no class. It is not confined to alleys in urban settings, nor isolated in rural communities,” Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti said. “We are traveling the state to collect research and hear stories of those impacted by this growing opioid overdose epidemic so we can take action to save lives.”

In 2016, almost 1,900 people died of opioid overdose, an increase of 76 percent from 2013. The largest increase was in the number of deaths involving fentanyl, and drugs similar to fentanyl, which led to the 10-fold increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths between 2013 and 2016.

“In traveling to different communities around the state, we hope to hear from health care providers, community organizations, people suffering or impacted by opioid use disorder, and first responders,” said IDPH Director Shah. “We want to learn what resources are available in different communities across the state and how we can work together to fight the opioid epidemic. It will take all of us, in all capacities to end the crisis.”

The goal of the Opioid Action Plan is to reduce the anticipated number of opioid-related deaths by one-third in three years. The Plan identifies three areas of focus: prevention, treatment/recovery, and response.