(WSIL) -- The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced Tuesday it is making naloxone more readily available to reverse the effect of opioid overdoses impacting people across the state with opioid use disorder.
IDHS is investing nearly $13m aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic through expanding access to this lifesaving medication.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist used for the treatment of overdose from opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl. In the U.S., the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists naloxone as a prescription drug.
In 2020, there were 2,944 opioid overdose deaths in Illinois, a 33% increase from 2019.
“Opioid overdoses have claimed the lives of too many Illinoisans, robbing friends, families, and entire communities of cherished loved ones. As part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to fight back against the crisis, I’m pleased to announce today that the Department of Human Services is expanding access to the life-saving medication Naloxone,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With this $13 million investment, the State is making it easier for those in need to get this medicine, providing medical providers with a critical tool that can help save lives.”
These funds will support the work of providers across the state, especially organizations doing community outreach work to connect with persons who are at risk of an overdose, their friends, and loved ones. Funds will also augment the work of hospitals treating patients experiencing opioid overdose as they link patients with treatment programs in their communities.
This funding 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. The project will allow Illinois to increase its capacity to identify and report timely, comprehensive syndromic surveillance data on fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses.