Aaron Weiner, PhD, Director of Addictions at Linden Oaks, advanced four significant opportunities for advocacy: preventing overdoses, eliminating the supply of opioids, addressing the needs of those at potential risk (primary prevention), and supporting treatment in the community. See link below to access presentation slides.
DuPage County Health Department executive director, Karen Ayala, MPH, emphasized that treatment works, but that lasting recovery is a process and it takes time. "Access to treatment for those who are uninsured or on Medicaid is difficult," she stressed, "and as people sink into addiction they typically lose their jobs, insurance, and other resources." See link below to access presentation slides.
In subsequent discussion attendees noted that while prevention and treatment costs are substantial, the cost of ongoing opioid misuse and overdose death is vast.
Pdf of Aaron Weiner's Presentation
Pdf of Karen Ayala's Presentation
On May 30, the DuPage County Health Department hosted an Opioid Listening Session featuring Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D - IL 8th). This is the second year the Congressman has come to hear concerns around the opioid epidemic from DuPage County residents.
In his opening statement, Krishnamoorthi told the capacity audience that addressing the opioid epidemic is a bipartisan effort in Washington. He also noted that despite efforts all over the country, the severity of the epidemic has not lessened.
There is a critical shortage of beds for Substance Use Disorder treatment and treatment is expensive. The Congressman cited a pilot program Elk Grove Village is trying – paying for treatment, believing that over the long run that will prove less costly for the village.
Audience concerns included availability of alternative pain treatments, care for chronic pain patients, the high price of medical marijuana, and HIV and Hepatitis preventive care for current addicts.
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