Lake County As A Role Model In Addressing The Opioid Crisis

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In Lake County, the growing opioid crisis is being addressedthrough services that include education, overdose rescue and available treatment through the progressive A Way Out program. Lake County is considered as a role model when it comes to addressing opioid addiction. The local officials got some form of recognition when Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti together with her staff and staff officials visited the Lake County Health Department located in Waukegan and toured the facilities for substance abuse.

During discussions with local officials on how they respond to substance abuse, it was learned that recovering addicts have become beneficiaries of their progressive programs. According to Sanguinetti, she has seen different responses to the opioid crisis. She told a story about a sheriff who responded to the crisis by arresting all those involved in heroin and opioids.

Lake County has organized the distribution of naloxone to first responders in 2014 and so far, about 200 lives have been saved by the responding police officers, paramedics/firefighters. After the initial treatment, support and help is provided through the health department’s residential and outpatient programs.

An Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force was also launched by Gov. Bruce Rauner to include a statewide 24/7 addiction services hotline to those who are being challenged by the crisis. Much of Lake County’s success stemmed from bipartisan efforts among the law enforcers, health care and political leaders. They were able to create a great partnership that is supportive of local programs.

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