WASHINGTON, DC — Wednesday, U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) released a new report on the state of the heroin and opioid epidemic in northern Illinois. Titled “Persisting in the Fight,” the report includes recent success stories from the 14th Congressional District and recommendations for local, state and federal lawmakers to more effectively tackle drug abuse and treat addiction. Read the report at his heroin and opioid resource page: http://hultgren.house.gov/heroin.
“Our community has made good progress fighting this plague since our Community Leadership Forum on Heroin Prevention in 2014, but more work needs to be done. This summer I brought together issue and patient advocates, law enforcement, treatment centers and government officials to discuss where we are, what’s working and where we go from here,” said Rep. Hultgren. “I was encouraged by their insights on the state of the problem and what we can do at the local, state and federal levels to more effectively address opioid addiction.”
Community recommendations include:
- Bridging the Treatment Gap: Long-term sober living facilities can more effectively shepherd individuals into recovery, preventing relapses that often lead to overdose.
- Improving Awareness: Incentivizing participation in education initiatives by using existing school and community functions.
- Funding Local Efforts: Identifying grants through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act to fund expanded access to treatment in northern Illinois.
- Tracking Abuse: Developing a hospital tracking system that allows emergency rooms to provide accurate, up-to-date county data on overdoses.
- Stopping Over Prescription: Changing the way hospitals are rated by patients on pain management to discourage over-prescriptions of opioids.
“In 2017, I will be working with my colleagues and the administration to initiative some of these changes at the federal level to equip people in our communities with more resources and better tools to tackle this problem,” said Rep. Hultgren.
“This report offers an honest assessment of where we are, a deserved celebration of the success stories in the 14th District and clear direction and responsibility for all of us as we continue to fight for the people devastated by the heroin epidemic.”