hunter bush 072721SPRINGFIELD – Longstanding champions of the fight against the ongoing opioid epidemic, State Senators Melinda Bush and Mattie Hunter applaud the Illinois Department of Human Services’ $14 million investment to expand access to lifesaving overdose medication.

“Narcan is as essential as having a working fire alarm in your home. The overdose crisis is killing at least 10 Illinoisans or 250 Americans every single day. That’s more than car crashes, homicides or suicides,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “Thanks to IDHS expanding access, organizations like Live4Lali can distribute it to anyone, anytime for free. Overdose is preventable and reversible. This is a huge advancement in our fight to save our lives.”


Following 2,944 opioid overdose deaths in Illinois last year – an increase of 33% from 2019 – IDHS invested the funds to support the work of providers across the state, especially organizations doing community outreach work to connect with people who are at risk of an overdose. It will also support first responders and other community partners in their efforts to widen the availability of the overdose reversal medication naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan.


“Investments made toward this treatment to combat the opioid crisis will save lives,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “The ongoing epidemic has needed increased efforts for quite some time, and our state has seen a violent increase in overdoses over the course of the pandemic. This is a giant leap toward saving lives and changing the trajectory for drug abuse treatment and prevention.”

Narcan – or naloxone – blocks the effects of opioids like heroin on the brain. When administered quickly enough, the fast-acting drug can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error.

People struggling with substance abuse should call the State's Helpline for Opioids and other Substances at 1-833-234-6343, text “HELP” to 833234, or visit