Ill. Health Dept. Receives $1.5M Grant for Opioid Overdose Treatment

Ill. Health Dept. Receives $1.5M Grant for Opioid Overdose Treatment

News Sep 20, 2017

Sept. 20—The DuPage County Health Department will receive $1.5 million in federal funding over the next four years to provide emergency training and medication for treatment of heroin overdoses and other opioid abuse.

The First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act grant will help public health workers, paramedics and law enforcement officials "fight the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, recovery, overdose reversal, and other efforts," according to a health department news release.

"Clearly, the opioid crisis is beyond the scope of local assets, so we are thrilled with this infusion of resources," health department Executive Director Karen Ayala said.

"These funds will support the existing efforts of the DuPage Narcan Program (DNP) to save lives, and allow us to develop a more robust system for wrap-around services to survivors of opioid abuse."

The grant marks the first time the federal government has provided funding for the program, said Mila Tsagalis, the department's community initiative program director.

The money will help health professionals, social workers, police officers and others to pay for "new strategies" in dealing with the opioid crisis, Tsagalis said. "We're excited to have funding that gives us multiple years" for training and programs, she said.

Fifty-five law enforcement agencies and other groups participate in the DNP. Most are in DuPage County, although the program serves portions of Cook, Kane, Lake and Will counties.

Included in the group are the Naperville Police Department and its fledgling "Connect For Life" program. It helps drug abusers find medical professionals, social workers and others who can help them in dealing with and beating their addictions.

To date this year, the program has saved 105 lives using Narcan, which reverses the effects of heroin and other drugs. The release said DNP has saved 344 lives since being initiated in 2013.

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said the DNP "has trained law enforcement officials across our county and other counties across our region, saving countless lives. This grant will enable us to continue our efforts to decrease the number of heroin- and opioid-related deaths."

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In addition to the DNP grant, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $144 million in grants to prevent and treat opioid addiction, the release said. The funding is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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