Today, Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-02, which committed his administration to focus on ending the opioid overdose crisis in Illinois by establishing the Governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Recovery Steering Committee. We want to extend our gratitude to Governor Pritzker and his team on this assertive decision. His team can count on Live4Lali to assist in any way we can.
We are encouraged by the groundbreaking, data-informed strategies the administration will pursue, which includes but is not limited to:
- Promoting social equity by better addressing racial disparities
- Enhancing recovery and prevention services for people with opioid use disorders
- Creating a comprehensive statewide opioid plan
- Investing resources into harm reduction services such as syringe exchange programs and safe consumption sites
- Investing resources into encouraging approved medical providers to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options like Methadone and buprenorphine
- Enhancing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to track and respond to overdoses in communities seeing concerning spikes
- Promoting overdose prevention training, which includes the purchase of naloxone for community members
- Create more access to treatment
We hope Governor Pritzker will consider supporting harm reduction prevention education for youth, re-educating Illinoisans about fentanyl and its analogs, and promoting support and safety for sex workers.
You can check out his announcement here.
So, why are we fans of this plan?
It reduces shame and prioritizes science and support.
When my parents and I started Live4Lali at the onset of the second wave of this public health epidemic in 2009, very few were willing to take a stand to help save lives, let alone contrive a stance that was data-informed or remotely possible. Add stigma and misinformation to that list, and you have a truly catastrophic situation to address. While communities were preparing to focus all of their energies on reducing prescription pill misuse and access, the impacted audience was dying primarily from heroin-related poisonings. Pill prescribing dropped dramatically over the past several years, but illicit opioid deaths increased substantially.
It builds off of lessons learned and rejects systemic failures.
As with most social change, we take many steps forward and backward, and sometimes simultaneously. We try to look at every misstep as an opportunity to do better. Today, we know much more about what has caused this crisis and what to prioritize to manage and end it. We knew it then, and we cannot deny it now. At its core, this issue is alive and well due to the harmful strategies utilized to address behavioral health issues. It is about marginalization and oppression, otherizing and shaming. It has been about corruption, greed, and profits instead of human compassion and safety. We need to fix this with thoughtful urgency.
It acknowledges the catastrophic human toll, builds on compassion and brings everyone to the table.
While Illinois saw a drop in overdose deaths for the first time in 2019, drug overdoses and alcohol poisonings lead as the primary forms of accidental types of deaths nationwide. More people succumb to substance-related poisonings than from homicides, car crashes, or suicide. For the past decade, we are proud to wake up every day and implement solutions to this crisis through innovative programs and partnerships that have helped to reduce such deaths and increase access to care across Lake, suburban Cook, McHenry, and now, DuPage counties. The communities we serve alongside our many partners statewide have committed to this mission and are now seeing lower incidences of overdose death than the state or national average.
We are excited to get involved with Governor Pritzker’s plan and help end overdose statewide!
Chelsea Laliberte Barnes, MSSA, LSW
Executive Director & Co-Founder
E: [email protected]
D: 844-584-5254 x802