Volume XI, Issue IV - September 2017

From: Maria Bruni, Acting Director
Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse


Earlier today, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Executive Order 17-05 (to be posted at https://www2.illinois.gov/government/executive-orders), creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. The task force will look at strategies to prevent expansion of the opioid crisis, treat and promote the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder, and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths. The task force will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Members of the Task Force will include officials from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Illinois State Police, and from Illinois Departments of: Financial and Professional Regulation, Human Services, Public Health, Juvenile Justice, Insurance, Corrections, and Healthcare and Family Services. The Governor's Task Force will work closely with the Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council, which began in January 2017 as a part of the activities supported by IDHS/DASA's Opioid-STR grant, which brought $16.3 million to Illinois to address the opioid crisis.

While the focus of the Executive Order is on the creation of the Governor's Task Force, IDHS/DASA is particularly gratified to see the following statement included:

WHEREAS, we recognize that substance use disorder is a disease, that individuals with substance use disorder come from diverse backgrounds and live in every part of our state, and furthermore, that recovery from substance use disorder is possible.

Also today, Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, state agency officials, stakeholders, and advocates helped release the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan (http://dph.illinois.gov/opioid/docs). A coalition of state agencies has developed a strategic framework that outlines what Illinois needs to do to address the opioid crisis and why it needs to be done. The goal of the plan is to reduce the anticipated number of opioid-related deaths by 33 percent in three years. The plan identifies three areas of focus: prevention, treatment/recovery, and response. To address those three areas of focus, the state has identified six priorities:

  • Safer prescribing and dispensing of opioids;
  • Education and stigma reduction;
  • Data monitoring and communication;
  • Increasing access to care;
  • Supporting justice-involved populations; and
  • Increasing naloxone access and use.

"Years of scientific research on the effects of substance use on the brain show us that substance-use disorders should be treated the same way we treat other chronic diseases," Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas said. "In order to impact the opioid crisis, we need to work together to eliminate the stigma that accompanies substance use disorders and create a society focused on treatment and prevention."