The governor’s new Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force made a stop in Urbana Thursday, to hear ways to curtail drug abuse in the state.
The task force was created by Governor Rauner’s executive order last month. The task force is charged with finding ways for all agencies to work together to reduce opioid addiction.
Dr. Nirav Shah is the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Task Force co-chair. He says the opioid addiction problem in the state is bad and getting worse. Shah says last year, 1,900 people in Illinois died of opioid overdoses.
“That is twice the number of people who died in fatal car crashes in Illinois last year and one-and-half the number of people who died of a homicide,” Shah said.
The task force heard from local law enforcement, first responders, health officials and a person recovering from addiction.
All agreed that education, drug court, reducing stigma and intensive rehabilitation services are the best ways to reduce opioid drug abuse.