24/7 helpline launched to combat opioid epidemic, help Illinoisans in crisis

The Governor recently announced the launch of a statewide helpline to provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances. 

The helpline will provide a confidential outlet where individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families and anyone affected by the disease an access recourses, treatment options and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Helpline specialists are trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery-support services. To reach the helpline, individuals can call 1-833-2FINDHELP.

The helpful is part of the state’s ongoing effort to tackle the opioid crisis and combat the growing number of overdose deaths related to heroin, other opioids, and synthetics like fentanyl. Administration officials have been meeting throughout the year to establish an agenda to combat the epidemic.

The Governor unveiled the Opioid Action Plan and this year signed Executive Order 17-05, creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. The task force was charged with building strategies that would help reduce projected opioid overdose-related deaths by one-third within the next three years.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav Shah co-chair the task force, which was responsible for implementing new programs and policies.

IDPH data shows opioid overdoses killed 1,946 people in Illinois in 2016 — more than one and a half times the number of homicides and nearly twice the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. In addition, data from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) estimates that approximately 248,000 Illinois residents need, but do not receive, treatment for illicit drug use.

The opioid task force has been traveling across Illinois to learn first-hand about the challenges communities are experiencing and ways the State can assist. 

Another policy established under Executive Order 17-05 was a Standing Order to make the overdose reversal drug Naloxone (Narcan) available to first responders and members of communities across Illinois, without a prescription. The order was issued by IDPH in October.

The Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances is funded by federal grant dollars that the State of Illinois secured from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Opioid State Targeted Response grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing opioid use disorder, call 1-833-2FINDHELP.

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