Sen. Rachelle Crowe

SPRINGFIELD – Members of the Senate’s special committee on Opioid Crisis Abatement held their first meeting under the leadership of State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon).

“There is a tremendous need for new ideas and research to combat Illinois’ opioid crisis,” Crowe said. “This committee’s goal is to produce real, comprehensive solutions.”

Jennifer Epstein, Director of Opioid Initiatives with the Department of Public Health, testified to the committee, giving feedback and status updates on the implementation of the State of Illinois’ Opioid Action Plan (SOAP) 2018 report.

The Illinois Senate established this committee to find gaps in state’s approach to abating the opioid epidemic and hear testimony regarding successful programs and efforts. It also will help develop legislation to strengthen Illinois’ response to the crisis.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in Illinois in 2017, there were 2,202 drug overdose deaths involving opioids. That’s a rate of 17.2 deaths per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

Earlier this year, Senator Crowe passed a resolution urging the Department of Public Health to adopt new prescription guidelines for painkillers. She also introduced legislation to increase sentencing requirements for certain offenses involving fentanyl.

“Our state has come a long way in recent years with more help than ever for those struggling with addiction,” Crowe said. “While we work to develop more resources, I strongly encourage those affected to call the Department of Human Services Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP.”