Local and state officials continue to fight the ongoing opioid pandemic, whether through the distribution of Narcan or events designed to raise awareness of drug abuse treatment.
In some regions, legal proceedings are initiated. Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 11 attorneys general, filed a friend of the court brief urging the United States Supreme Court to hear a case supporting the rights of states to adopt policies of health organizations that can prevent opioid overdose deaths and treat people with opioid use disorders.
Raoul and coalition ask Supreme Court to review U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit ruling that prevents Safehouse, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, from operating a secure injection site that can save lives and prevent opioid overdose deaths. This medically supervised site would provide opioid users with immediate medical attention in the event of an overdose. The federal government sued to prevent Safehouse from operating the program.
“Opioid addiction has destroyed lives and devastated families and communities across Illinois and the country,” said Raoul. “States have the right to adopt public health measures to better treat and protect their residents as they continue to fight the opioid epidemic. I am committed to ensuring that states, including Illinois, have all the tools to mitigate the opioid epidemic and mitigate its impact on communities. “
Will County is certainly no stranger to the opioid crisis. In March of this year, Will County reported 84 heroin / fentanyl overdoses for 2020. Various efforts are underway to combat the addition of opioids in Will County. The Will County Health Department is opening a new addiction therapy service to increase the resources available to people, regardless of income. The Ministry of Health has expanded its program to increase the accessibility of people to receive assisted medical treatment. A recovery home for women and children is being planned and more recovery homes are available to facilitate long-term recovery, officials said.
A major event to raise awareness of the problem is planned for October in Romeoville. The 10th Anniversary Hero Helps Community Summit is scheduled for October 15 at the Romeoville Athletic and Event Center. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with a resource fair featuring providers of healthcare, treatment, recovery and other related organizations.
Featured speakers include:
- Dr Rebecca Baker, Director of the National Institute of Health
- David Jones, Director of the Illinois Department of Social Services
- Dr Kathleen Burke, Director of Will County Substance Abuse Initiatives
- MAPP round table
For more information or to register for the event, visit herohelps.org.
According to officials in Raoul’s office, medical surveillance saves lives as death can occur within minutes of consuming heroin or fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid, often too quickly for rescuers to arrive at the scene. These sites also reduce the risks associated with public use and contaminated needles. Safehouse also plans to offer drug addiction treatment options, primary medical care, and comprehensive social services that can help treat people with opioid use disorders. There are around 120 safe injections in 10 countries around the world.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 136 Americans die of an opioid overdose every day. Opioid deaths have been on the rise in the United States since 1999. The death toll now stands at nearly 500,000.
In the filed legal brief, Raoul and the attorneys general support Safehouse and urge the Supreme Court to hear this case because:
• This is an issue of national significance that requires innovation at local and state levels: the opioid crisis affects every state in the country, and states have reported a surprising number of overdose deaths and others. dire consequences of opioid use disorder. Many states and local governments are considering safe injection sites as a way to prevent overdose deaths and promote public health. The court’s decision regarding the future of Safehouse could impact the future of other similar sites.
• The current COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the opioid crisis and heightened the need for more solutions: According to the American Medical Association, every “state has reported a spike or increase in overdose deaths or other problems during the COVID-19 pandemic ”. People with substance use disorders are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 and serious illness from COVID-19. Safe injection sites like Safehouse provide users with medical care as well as life support, including immediate access to sterile injection equipment, opioid reversal agents like naloxone, and pathways to programs. drug treatment.
• States have a well-established role in implementing public health and safety programs: States are on the front line in addressing the opioid crisis and have historically enjoyed broad powers to protect public health. For example, many states have implemented Good Samaritan laws, which encourage victims and bystanders to seek help from drug overdose victims by offering limited immunity from drug-related charges. drug. States also have needle exchange programs, which provide clean syringes to prevent the spread of disease. It is crucial that states and localities retain the flexibility to act quickly to adopt public health solutions that meet the needs of their residents.
Attorneys General of Delaware, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia join Raoul in filing the case.