SUPR Newsletter March 2023

March 2023 Newsletter

SUPR Staffing Update:

We are pleased to announce that on March 1, 2023, Samantha Alonis joined the SUPR team as the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Prevention Services. Samantha brings a myriad of experience to SUPR as a proven health equity leader with over 14 years of cross-sector experience, including in social services, local government, higher education, and health care. She began her career as a social worker in a residential center for children who had experienced severe abuse and neglect, where she observed that many of our systems and policies do little to prevent adverse childhood experiences and break cycles of intergenerational trauma.

Samantha received a Master of Science in leadership and public policy from DePaul University to enable her to apply a trauma-informed and racial equity lens to public policies and transform our systems to advance health equity for young people. Most recently, she served as the Illinois Market Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Language Services at Ascension, a 15-hospital health care system, leading efforts to advance workplace inclusivity, trauma-informed care, and access to communications assistance. In addition, Samantha is especially passionate about preventing and responding to adverse childhood experiences, as demonstrated by her volunteer work as a member of the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center's Policy and Government Affairs Council and the founding chair of the Abuse Prevention Workgroup of IDHP's COVID-19 Equity Team.

Please join us in welcoming Deputy Director Alonis to the SUPR family and her new role!

Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM):

IDHS/SUPR, in collaboration with the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling (ICPG) and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), is dedicating March to bringing awareness to the gambling disorder and directing people to the help they need. PGAM is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment, and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling.

Across Illinois, organizations will be sponsoring community events, holding screening, and training days and running media campaigns to ensure that problem gambling services are widely available and accessible. The Chicago Skyline will be lit teal during the week of March 20-26 to honor all those who struggle with gambling disorder and bring awareness to the impact of gambling on communities.

For additional information, visit Are You Really Winning.

Upcoming Trainings:

New Gambling Programs:

IDHS/SUPR is pleased to announce three (3) new programs that will expand Illinois' capacity for treatment and intervention services for individuals with gambling disorder. We congratulate these agencies for being new grant recipients and welcome them to the group of service organizations that assist IDHS/SUPR in expanding outreach and treatment services for people who suffer from Gambling Disorder.

  • Association House of Chicago
  • Family Service and Mental Health Center of Cicero
  • LaKar Enterprise

NEW Gambling Disorder Screening Available:

IDHS/SUPR has rolled out a new gambling disorder screening (Eisenberg Disordered Gambling SBIRT Pre-screen and Screen). As noted in the contract policy manual, all providers need to screen for gambling disorder during the initial assessment and refer individuals if needed to a gambling disorder service provider. This new screening tool makes the screening process more efficient and provides next steps for the screener should the screening be positive.

The new screening is available at Gambling Help.

Save the Date- IL MAR Conference:

Save the date for an in-person conference on April 20th, taking place at the Bloomington-Normal Marriot Hotel in Bloomington, IL, for the Illinois Learning Collaborative to Support Medication Assisted Recovery Implementation for Justice-Involved Populations. Please note that this event is open and free to all individuals interested in attendance with advance registration. Additional details and instructions on how to register will be available in the coming weeks.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®):

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) is a self-designed prevention and wellness tool anyone can use to get well, stay well, and make their life more the way they want it to be. While it was originally developed for individuals with mental health challenges, it is an evidence-based practice that can be used with substance use clients as well. WRAP® participants identify tools that help with everything from maintaining everyday routines to dealing with stressors, triggers, setbacks, relapses, and crises.

To qualify to use WRAP® with clients, staff must first complete a multi-week training program to become a Certified WRAP® Facilitator. Certified WRAP® Facilitators are training to facilitate WRAP® groups. Per Rule 2060.407 Group Treatment, Certified WRAP® Facilitators qualify as a "professional with credentials specific to the subject matter of the didactic group". The Division of Mental Health has been approved to pilot-test Virtual WRAP® Facilitator training, which will be held over the course of twelve, 3-hour sessions (April-May 2023). This is an exciting new development and potential opportunity for expanding access to WRAP® Facilitator Training in Illinois.

There are several pre-requisites to submit a successful application for admittance into WRAP® Facilitator Training. Interested agencies are encourages to have staff begin working on those pre-requisites now, to prepare to apply for the anticipated training.

If you are interested in scheduling Virtual WRAP® Orientation for your agency to learn ways WRAP® can help you and your clients, please contact Kim Sriner at  For more information about WRAP®, visit Wellness Recovery Action Plan.

New SAMHSA Advisory-Cannabidiol (CBD):

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a new advisory on the potential harms, side effects, and unknowns of cannabidiol (CBD). The advisory is full of information that you may find important as you provide services.

To view the advisory, visit Advisory: Cannabidiol.

Who Should I Contact?

IDHS/SUPR is issuing this gentle reminder that providers should reach out to their grant managers regarding any concerns that they may have as they are best equipped to assist. Thank you for your attention to this and for your continued partnership.

COVID-19 Mitigation Supplies- Reminder to Order:

IDHS/SUPR encourages organizations licensed to provide substance use disorder treatment and recovery home services to order COVID-19 mitigation abatement supplies. Prevention First, an IDHS/SUPR grantee, administers this project and serve as the "hub" for organizations to access the COVID-19 abatement supplies using an online ordering system called Shopify. IDHS/SUPR reminds your organization that these supplies, when used in tandem with the appropriate vaccinations, will not only reduce the spread of COVID-19, but will also reduce the spread of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), various influenza viruses, and other viruses which cause the common cold.

Supplies include:

  • Diagnostic Testing: Instant COVID-19 self-testing kits (e.g., iHealth COVID-19 test).
  • Personal Protective Equipment: PPE is equipment such as masks and gloves worn to minimize exposure to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
  • Sanitation Equipment: Sanitation products such as disinfectant solvents and gloves.
  • Mobile Air Purification Systems: Air purification systems for use in small to mid-sized rooms for those organizations providing in-person group visits/activities.

You can log into the same online shopping platform that was made available in FY22 to order and spend down the amount allocated to your organization for the supplies of your choice. If you did not place an order in FY22, you can still set up an account to order supplies during FY23.

The FY23 organization allocation amount is predetermined by IDHS and loaded into your Shopify account. If you need assistance logging in or have questions regarding this project, please contact Prevention First at

Xylazine- What to Know:

Please be aware that xylazine is involved in an increasing number of overdoses and other health issues. Please educate patients/clients on what it is and the impact it is having on people.

Pulled from the NIDA website - "Xylazine, a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer not approved for human use, has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths nationwide in the evolving drug addiction and overdose crisis. Studies show people exposed to xylazine often knowingly or unknowingly used it in combination with other drugs, particularly illicit fentanyl. Also known as "tranq," xylazine is a central nervous system depressant that can cause drowsiness and amnesia and slow breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure to dangerously low levels. Taking opioids in combination with xylazine and other central nervous system depressants-like alcohol or benzodiazepines-increases the risk of life-threatening overdose."

Naloxone use is still indicated in known xylazine overdoses since opioids are usually part of the drug mix. Because naloxone does not work specifically on xylazine, only on opioids that are present in the individual's supply, the patient may not completely be revived or reversed with just naloxone. The mortality rate is higher if they have xylazine poisoning (in addition to the opioid in their supply) because they require an ER or ICU if they get to the point of needing oxygen/etc. Other potential effects of use are that it causes severe soft tissue infections including abscesses, cellulitis, and skin ulceration.

No matter how or where an individual injects or route of use, a xylazine skin-induced problem can occur, including skin ulcers that begin as blackened eschar that progresses to skin and muscle ulceration. They require hospitalization, IV antibiotics, and surgical debridement - it is very painful for the patient and sometimes requires amputation.

COVID-19 Exceptions

A gentle reminder that COVID-19 exceptions are still in effect and have no expiration date currently. Services delivered through Telehealth are still acceptable.

Please review the Provider Notice from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) dated March 20, 2020, "Telehealth Services Expansion Prompted by COVID-19" IDHS/SUPR has also sent several communications regarding the COVID-19 Exception that you can review.

Recovery Residences Registry

The IDHS/SUPR Recovery Residence Registry has been moved to the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances to streamline searches, rather than looking in a separate place for recovery residence information. Information in the registry helps IDHS/SUPR better understand recovery residences' capacity and support for Medication Assisted Recovery. If you partner with a residence that is not listed, please invite them to register and/or contact to list the organization. Search the Recovery Residences Registry at any time.

Overdose Response Funding Updates

SUPR publishes a monthly report summarizing funded projects in response to the overdose crisis. We invite you to review the Overdose Response Funding Report at your convenience.

Smart Alerts and Other Communications

DHS Coronavirus


State of Illinois Coronavirus page

Summary of SUPR Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Smart Alerts