Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council Meeting March 21st, 2022 MEETING MINUTES

IDHS/SUPR Director David T. Jones welcomed the group.


Director Jones gave the following updates:

  • Director Jones was appointed the new Chief Behavioral Health Officer for the State of Illinois. In this position, Director Jones will be responsible for cross-agency integration of behavioral health policies to address the diseases of mental illness and addiction. Laura Garcia will serve as the Interim Director of SUPR.
  • Director Jones and other Council members visited the Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) in New York. One site is in the Bronx and uses a peer model. The other site is located in Harlem and uses a medical model. These sites are connecting people to treatment in real time and are a great representation of harm reduction. More information about the site visit is forthcoming.
  • The Governor announced the release of the State Overdose Action Plan (SOAP) earlier today. The SOAP includes 25 high priority recommendations that have been compiled into the following 5 categories: social equity, prevention, treatment and recovery, harm reduction, and justice-involved populations/public safety.
    • Dr. Sue Pickett from Advocates for Human Potential reviewed the 25 high priority recommendations. Each priority has a set of metrics that have been assigned to the Council Committees and State agencies and will be reviewed on a semi-annual basis. Dr. Pickett presented on the work that is already underway related to the SOAP. This work includes mobile MAR treatment, a community engagement project focused on implementing an OPS in high-risk communities, anti-stigma campaigns (e.g., "Rethink Recovery" and "Dose of Truth"), increased access to Narcan, harm reduction campaigns to promote availability and awareness of syringe service programs, and two pilot projects focused on overdose education and prevention in select prisons and juvenile justice facilities. Committees will resume their meetings and Dr. Pickett will reach out to the committee chairs about next steps.

IDPH Updates

Jenny Epstein, Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Policy, Planning, and Statistics, gave the following updates:

  • Dr. Ngozi Ezike has stepped down as Director of IDPH. She has been replaced by the former Assistant Director of IDPH, Dr. Amaal Tokars.
  • Two grant agreements have been executed:
    • Harm Reduction Community Linkages Project: Seven grantees received funding to focus on linking harm reduction services across the state.
    • Local Health Departments Surveillance and Response Grant: This is an opportunity for local health departments to improve their capacity to build their overdose surveillance system and response plan within counties.

HFS Updates

Dr. Arvind Goyal, Medical Director, gave the following updates:

  • There has been a change to opioid prescribing practices for initial prescriptions from seven to five days. This is only for opioid naïve patients who have not had any opioid prescriptions filled for the last 60 days. This will not affect individuals with chronic pain.
  • Initial prescriptions for benzodiazepines will be limited to 14 days unless an individual has been taking the medication for a justifiable reason.

Presentation: Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances: START Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) and Coordinated Recovery Home Pilot

Chelsea McCarron, Associate Director, Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances, gave the following presentation on Support & Toolkits for Advancing Recovery & Treatment through Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (START MOUD) and Coordinated Recovery Home Pilot Project (see attached handouts):

  • In collaboration with Cook County Health (CCH), Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH), and Rush, the Helpline has launched Support & Toolkits for Advancing Recovery & Treatment through START MOUD. START MOUD provides free resources for Illinois-based clinicians who would like to begin prescribing buprenorphine for their patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). The goal of this project is to increase access to MAR by increasing the number of providers prescribing medication for OUD. The project offers MAR toolkits and other provider resources on the IL Helpline website under the MAR Provider Resources page.
    • There are two step-by-step MAR toolkits available on the website: (1) MAR for providers in hospital-based settings, and (2) MAR for providers in community-based settings.
    • There is also personalized support available for clinicians, including one-on-one mentoring, connection to learning groups and collaboratives, and support from a Helpline Technical Assistance (TA) Associate. Other resources include a curated resource library, a calendar of learning opportunities, and a promotional toolkit on how to share these resources with professional networks.
  • The Coordinated Recovery Home Pilot Project is a collaboration with Westcare to increase low-barrier transitional housing for justice-involved people with SUD, particularly individuals receiving MAR. As part of this project, the Helpline provides an online platform where individuals can find up-to-date information and bed capacity for participating recovery homes that are part of a MAR recovery home grant. Individuals can also call the Helpline to be connected to participating recovery homes or to a recovery home navigator who can do case management for individuals looking for recovery housing.
  • In addition to these two projects, the Helpline has launched a statewide harm reduction campaign and is currently working on a stigma reduction campaign focused on MAR for pregnant and post-partum women.

New Business

* The second cohort of the OUD Treatment Fellowship ECHO program through Carle Health is slated to start in May. This is a 9-month fellowship for prescribers interested in prescribing buprenorphine. Application deadline is April 8th. For more informationcontact David King at .

June 2022 Council Meeting

The next Council meeting will be held on Monday, June 27th from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM. This will be a virtual meeting. The meeting agenda and information on how to connect will be sent out to the Council closer to the meeting date.