Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Illinois Announces Plan for $760M from Opioid Settlements

Every year, thousands of Illinoisans have to deal with addiction – a chronic and progressive disease that negatively impacts a person’s health, relationships, and overall well-being. When someone is addicted to a certain drug, they struggle to control their use, regardless of the repercussions. State officials understand how important it is to fund prevention programs, as well as treatment centers. More people should have access to rehabs in Illinois.

Great Funds for Combating Opioid Epidemic

Last year, the nation’s three biggest pharmaceutical distributors (Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen) and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson reached a $26 billion settlement to resolve more than 4,000 lawsuits over the opioid epidemic, a crisis that has killed more than half a million Americans over the past two decades. The settlement paves the way for state and local communities across the U.S. to provide a surge in funding to address an opioid epidemic. 

The state of Illinois will receive about $760 million over the next 18 years. As of July, 94 of the state’s 102 counties signed onto the national settlement and 104 of the 113 Illinois local governments are eligible to receive the money. Individual payments for local governments will depend on different factors, including population, fatal overdoses, opioid use rates and the amount of opioids shipped to a region.

Plans on Spending Opioid Settlement Money

Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled how the state will spend its share of funds. 55% of the money will go to increase opioid prevention efforts, improve access to treatment programs, and decrease overdose rates. It hasn’t been decided yet what specific recovery and treatment programs will be funded. Obviously, some of the best rehab centers in Illinois need funds to expand their services and cater to a larger number of patients.

Who will be responsible for money distribution? Pritzker ordered to create an advisory board for that – an Opioid Settlement Administration Office.

The board won’t make decisions unilaterally. Several state heath institutions will be involved – those who know well what improvements the best rehabs in Illinois require. For example, in the Illinois Department of Human Services that will participate in this work, there is The Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse. 

Funding Drug Use Prevention Among Children

In a press conference, on Sep.8, local IL law enforcement leaders discussed investing settlement funding in prevention initiatives targeted at youth, specifically Fight Crime: Invest in Kids (Illinois). It’s a bipartisan, non-profit organization that promotes “solutions that steer kids away from crime”. Also, the organization can help parents who suffer from problematic drug use to receive help they may need.

The main topic of discussion was creating new programs all over the state that can help to prevent children from taking opioids and other drugs. Dora Villarreal, State’s Attorney in Rock Island County, says that the most effective way “to rehabilitate is … to catch things at the very front”.

Indeed, it’s better to nip the problem in the bud and avoid all those dangerous and life-ruining part people usually experience before entering the best drug rehab centers in Illinois.

Experts believe that early intervention and home visiting can contribute to reducing the opioid use rates. Fight Crime director, Sean Noble, says these are evidence-based methods that also help children “who have been born with the exposure of the opioid abuse of their parents.”

Illinois Substance Abuse Statistics

The state’s central geographic location and multi-faceted transportation infrastructure makes Illinois a convenient hub for drug traffickers. The major transportation and distribution center is Chicago. It’s estimated that up to 130,000 people in the city are members of organized gangs. Drugs shipped into Chicago are intended not only for the local market but also for the Midwest and the Eastern states.

In 2019, over 48,000 people in Illinois sought treatment for a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Alcohol, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, and cocaine were the most used substances. In the same year, the overall age-adjusted drug overdose mortality rate in the state was 30 deaths per 100,000 residents. Alcohol and drug abuse cause over 5,500 deaths each year, that’s 5% of all deaths.

Pritzker’s office reports that more than 74,000 Illinoisans have an Opioid Use Disorder, and almost 400,000 misuse prescription opiates.

Opioid abuse is present everywhere – in the cities, suburbs, and villages, and in every community. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) communities are specifically vulnerable. In fact, the opioid overdose rates for them are 55 deaths per 100,000 residents, which is the highest rate of all demographics.

Finding A Drug Rehabilitation Program in Illinois

The loved ones of addicts are those who are most aware of the need for more best rehab facilities in Illinois. With such a great need for treatment of drug abuse and alcoholism, many people who need help simply cannot get it.

Illinois officials understand that increasing the number of rehabilitation centers and the availability of treatment services have several benefits, including lower crime rates and financial damages due to law enforcement, medical care, and lost productivity.

Existing centers and intervention programs can help you or someone your care about today. From high-end, private treatment centers to state-funded rehabs, Illinois has treatment for people with SUDs from all backgrounds.

Many factors determine which rehab is best for your circumstances. The choice will depend on individual needs, such as a specific disorder treatment program, an inpatient or outpatient program, treatment methods and therapy options at a certain center (traditional, holistic, or faith-based), an age-specific rehab (for teens, adults, or elder people), location, amenities, and cost.

Gov. Pritzker emphasizes that “Everyone’s life is worth saving”, and the Opioid Settlement Administration Office “will leave no stone unturned” as they will work to stop the opioid epidemic.

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