Gov. Rauner creates task force targeting opioid abuse

Gov. Rauner signed an Executive Order Sept. 6 creating the Governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. The Task Force, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, will look at strategies to tackle the escalating opioid crisis in Illinois, aiming to stop its spread, reduce the number of opioid-related deaths, and aid in the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder.

In Illinois, the number of heroin overdose deaths has doubled since 2013, and the number of opioid overdose deaths has quadrupled. This year, more than 1,900 people in Illinois are expected to die of opioid overdoses. This is more than one-and-a-half times the number of homicides and almost twice the number of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes.

Members of the Task Force will look at strategies to combat this growing problem including increasing the number of providers that use the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program and reducing high-risk opioid prescribing. They will also examine how to make information and resources more accessible to the public, how to strengthen data collection, analysis, and sharing efforts, as well as strategies to reduce the number of overdose deaths of individuals recently released from an institutional facility. Additionally, they will examine ways to increase naloxone availability and training to combat overdoses.

The Task Force will be made up of officials from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Illinois State Police, and from the Illinois Departments of Financial and Professional Regulation, Human Services, Public Health, Juvenile Justice, Insurance, Corrections, and Healthcare and Family Services.

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