DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin has created the Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education Taskforce, a joint operation of the County Board and the DuPage County Health Department, according to a DuPage County news release.
The task force is co-led by Board of Health Vice President Dr. Lanny Wilson and County Board member Grant Eckhoff, and it includes 17 community specialists in mental health, law enforcement, the court system, substance abuse treatment and prevention, and education, the release stated.
The task force developed a framework to reduce access to drugs, reduce opioid use and misuse, increase overdose response, integrate mental health and substance use disorder treatment and recovery, provide education and prevention, and reduce stigma, according to the release.
Members of the task force meet monthly to assess opioid use in DuPage County and recommend effective and actionable policies, initiatives and programs. The task force will issue formal recommendations later this spring, the release stated.
The task force has met with congressional leaders to discuss the framework and share recommendations to address the crisis, according to the release.
Additionally, DuPage County officials have taken steps to fight heroin and opioid overdoses since introducing the DuPage Narcan Program in 2014, including saving more than 460 lives using the antidote naloxone to reverse the effects of heroin and opioids; training more than 4,000 first responders and citizens in the use of naloxone; decreasing access to prescription drugs by increasing access to safe drug disposal through a countywide drug disposal program; leading community and school discussions and education efforts to create awareness among community leaders, students and parents; promoting opioid overdose prevention resources, including the Illinois Helpline for Opioid and Other Substances; and providing safe-prescribing education to health care professionals, the release stated.
Task force meetings are open to the public, and members of the community are invited to attend, according to the release. Meetings will be announced on the DuPage County Board and DuPage County Health Department websites.