Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council June 27, 2022 Meeting Minutes

IDHS/SUPR Director Laura Garcia welcomed the group.

Discussion: Chief Jones' New Role

  • David T. Jones, former IDHS/SUPR Director, has been appointed by Governor Pritzker to serve as Illinois' Chief Behavioral Health Officer (CBHO). Chief Jones discussed the objectives and desired outcomes associated with his role (see attached handouts):
    • As part of the goal to transform how Illinois supports behavioral health wellness, the CBHO will provide overarching leadership to facilitate collaboration among the state agencies that deliver and support behavioral health services. The CBHO also will solicit stakeholder feedback; lead HHS Strategic Plan implementation; coordinate with the Director of the Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative; develop an infrastructure blueprint; allocate resources; amend policies, rules, regulations; and create an interconnected interagency system and an efficient and effective state infrastructure.
    • The CBHO will partner with the Office of Medicaid Innovation for research and administrative leadership and support.
    • During year one, the CBHO will oversee an interim action phase to 1) establish and accomplish short-term goals to improve the behavioral health system; and 2) develop a blueprint outlining proposed funding and administrative structure for the longer term.
    • Desired outcomes include improved interagency collaboration; increased capacity and/or increased service provision; expanded pathways to increase access to behavioral health treatment, services and supports; processes and constructs connecting behavioral health treatment with social determinants of health; and improved emotional, mental, and overall behavioral health wellness for Illinoisans.

IDHS Updates

IDHS/SUPR Chief of Staff Laura Garcia has been appointed Director of the agency. Director Garcia gave an overview of IDHS/SUPR and provided the following updates (see attached handouts):

  • IDHS/SUPR is committed to supporting a recovery-oriented system of care that addresses the social determinants of health by supporting economic stability, facilitating access to quality healthcare, promoting healthy and safe neighborhoods, facilitating access to quality education, and promoting social and community resources that foster social and community support.
  • Through the Access Narcan program, $3,710,970 has been spent on Narcan and 51,804 kits have been sent out for distribution. Between July 1, 2021 - June 24, 2022, Drug Overdose Prevention Program (DOPP) enrollees provided 2,616 administrations of naloxone; trained 28,303 individuals and distributed 89,981 naloxone kits.
  • SUPR is expanding prevention activities. Via the Supplemental Block Grant, 19 substance use prevention organizations have expanded school-based prevention services to 4th and/or 5th-graders. The evidence-based curriculum these programs use includes a session on opioids.
  • SUPR is applying for SAMHSA State Opioid Response (SOR)-3 funding. SOR-3 funding will increase access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD), support the continuum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for OUD and stimulant use disorders, and help reduce unmet treatment needs. The application includes a naloxone distribution and saturation plan. Kathleen Monahan, SOR Director, asked Council member to think about how non-traditional sites (e.g., homeless shelters) can be encouraged to enroll as DOPPs.
  • Illinois will receive an estimated $760 million through the opioid settlement fund over the next 18 years. The settlement fund aligns with the State Overdose Action Plan (SOAP). Abatement core strategies include MAR, services for pregnant and postpartum women with OUD, bridge services.
  • IDHS/SUPR will make approximately $7.3M in Sustainment Payments to funded Recovery Residences in Fiscal Year 2023. These services include ASAM Level 3.1, Level 3.2, Level 3.5, Level 3.7, and IDHS/SUPR's funded Recovery Homes.
  • The Methadone in Pregnancy for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) guideline was developed to share best practices for methadone use among pregnant persons using methadone in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP). More information is available at:

Sarah Pointer, PharmD, Clinical Director for the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), provided the following updates:

  • Over 1,300 health care organizations are integrated with the PMP; this represents 13,000+ individual connection sites.
  • The website has been enhanced to allow the PMP Peer Review Committee to more easily review prescriber activities.
  • Academic detailing will be conducted for targeted education in areas where additional education would benefit prescribers. Additional educational modules are being developed and will be distributed via the PMP website and newsletter.
  • Partners at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine are assisting with analysis of PMP data. The dashboard is being reviewed to identify overdose hotspots.

IDPH Updates

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

  • The second annual Harm Reduction Summit held by the state of Illinois will take place August 23 and 24.
  • The statewide, semi-annual opioid report with provisional mortality and morbidity data was recently released.
  • State Unintentional Drug Overdosing Reporting System (SUDORS) data was added to the IDPH opioid overdose dashboard. Attendees may reach out to IDPH for additional data needs.
  • IDPH recently released a SIREN (State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notification) about a cluster of overdoses in Northern Illinois. Attendees with ideas about how to message SIRENs can contact Jennifer Epstein ( .
  • IDPH grant opportunity announcements can be found at Go to this website to register your organization to receive grant opportunity announcements.

HFS Updates

Arvind Goyal, MD, Medical Director, discussed the following:

  • The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) survey shows that substance use starts at age 11 or 12. As such, it is encouraging that IDHS/SUPR is making prevention education available to 4th and 5th grade classrooms.
  • Prior authorization for MAT is not required for Illinois Medicaid recipients. If this occurs, it should be reported to HFS.

State Overdose Action Plan (SOAP) Updates

Sue Pickett, PhD, from Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., provided updates on the SOAP:

  • Governor Pritzker released the SOAP in March. State agency directors are completing requested updates on their implementation of SOAP activities. The first implementation report will be completed in October.
  • Dr. Pickett has discussed SOAP activities with each Committee Chair. The MAR and Prescribing Practices Committee share many SOAP activities and will merge into one committee to address this work. Committees will be reconvening in the fall. Contact Dr. Pickett at if you would like to join any of the six Council Committees.

Presentation: MAR NOW Chicago Pilot Program

Dr. Nicole Gastala, Medical Director, IDHS/SUPR, gave the following presentation the MAR NOW Pilot Program (see attached handouts).

  • Opioid fatalities in Chicago are at an all-time. The Chicago MAR Now Pilot Program provides MAR via telehealth to help connect people with OUD to MAR. The program is a collaboration of IDHS/SUPR, The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and IL Helpline, and Family Guidance Centers (FGC).
  • Individuals in Chicago who call the IL Helpline for OUD treatment/withdrawal support are connected with a MAR NOW care manager. Patient options are buprenorphine home induction, a same or next-day appointment at FGC for methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone, and connections to other care in the community. Once connected to MAR NOW, patients are referred to the community for continued MAR treatment in a Hub and Spoke model that includes community MAR providers, pharmacies, and mental health, harm reduction and primary care providers. Contact Dr. Maria Bruni at FGC if your organization is interested in serving as MAR NOW provider ( ).
  • People can access MAR NOW by calling the IL Helpline (833-234-6343). They can ask for MAR NOW or, as noted above, it they ask for help with OUD treatment or withdrawal management, they will be referred by Helpline staff to the MAR NOW program.

September 2022 Council Meeting

The next Council meeting will be held on Monday, September 19, 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. Minutes from prior meetings can be found on the IDHS website.