opioid epidemic

"SPILLS PILLS PILLS" BY FLICKR USER OLIVER.DODD / (CC x 2.0)

The opioid epidemic continues to plague communities across Illinois. For the state’s youth, the biggest threat may be hiding in their home medicine cabinet.

In 2016, there were nearly 1,500 prescription opioid overdose deaths in Illinois—a number that quadrupled in 3 years, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. Studies suggest that more youth are experimenting, and dying, from prescription pills.

The Illinois State Police will now house receptacles for people to safely dispose of unused pills. Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle says it’s greatly needed.

Jessie Schlacks/WNIJ

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’s not seeing enough statewide progress in addressing the opioid addiction crisis.  

The Democratic senator visited Mercyhealth in Rockford Wednesday for a roundtable conversation with doctors, first responders, treatment specialists and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. 

Participants echoed a similar theme: they're strapped when it comes to finances to provide adequate services. 

Emily Reed/WNIJ

As the death toll climbs for opioid-related overdoses in Illinois, state leaders are looking for solutions. Advocates have highlighted a Whiteside County Clinic as a state leader in its outpatient drug rehabilitation program. WNIJ's Jessie Schlacks went to Rock Falls to tour the facility:

Whitney Miller is case manager of the Medication Assisted Treatment program - or MAT - at the Whiteside County Clinic.