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2016 Lives Saved by Naloxone
New medication disposal kiosks at three Lake County Walgreens locations will allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications, at no cost. The kiosks offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.
Local and state elected leaders, including Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim, Undersheriff Raymond J. Rose, along with State Senator Terry Link, joined Walgreens Regional Vice President Joe Willey to announce Walgreens’ Safe Medication Disposal Program in Lake County on Wednesday.
The officials unveiled a safe medication disposal kiosk at the Walgreens store located at 1811 Belvidere Road in Waukegan—one of three public safe medication disposal receptacles in Lake County and 45 across the state.
Lake County Board Chairman said, “We know that less supply equals less likelihood for opioid addiction. Walgreens has stepped up to combat drug abuse with this program, and I encourage Lake County residents to take action—Go through your medicine cabinets and take your unused or unwanted medications to one of these boxes. This issue didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight. We must continue to work together at the federal, state and local levels to fight this crisis that is destroying families and having a detrimental effect on our communities.”
“Prescription Drug Disposal Saves Lives. Period. We have seen too many tragic examples of lives destroyed by the misuse of prescription medication, particularly opiates. This is one way our community can help make a difference. Lake County has been a leader in our collective efforts to drive proper drug disposal. I applaud Walgreens for their leadership,” said State’s Attorney Nerheim.
Undersheriff Raymond J. Rose said, “At the end of 2014, Lake County had 17 prescription drug disposal boxes in law enforcement offices. Today, we have 28. I’m pleased to report that Lake County law enforcement collected 7,623 pounds of unused or expired prescription drugs since January. We are serious about preventing prescription drugs from getting in the wrong hands and disposal boxes are easy and convenient for the public. We thank the folks at Walgreens for joining us and adding disposal boxes at three Lake County Walgreens locations, providing the public three more spots to dispose of prescription drugs.”
“By making safe medication disposal kiosks available in select Illinois stores, including the ones in Lake County, Walgreens is taking an important first step to curb the misuse of medications throughout the country,” said Joe Willey, Walgreens Regional Vice President. “As a pharmacy, we are committed to playing a role in what must be a comprehensive solution to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse.”
Walgreens is installing 500 safe medication disposal kiosks in select stores throughout the country. The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies are available during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most kiosk locations). The Lake County locations include:
Buffalo Grove Walgreens – 15 N Buffalo Grove Rd
Deerfield Walgreens – 780 Waukegan Rd
Waukegan Walgreens – 1811 Belvidere Rd
Today we saved our 100th life with Naloxone since Christmas Day 2014. In those 20 months. The program has grown to every police department in Lake County.
More to come on this, but wow!
Want to see the details? Go here.
In an effort to expand treatment for opioid addiction, the Obama administration is loosening strict controls of a medication doctors prescribe to ease cravings for heroin and other opioid drugs.
The Department of Health and Human Services says it will now allow doctors to prescribe the medication, called buprenorphine, to 275 patients at a time, up from 100 previously.
The limits were put in place to try to keep tight control of the medication, which addicts sometimes buy and sell on the black market because it prevents painful withdrawal symptoms from heroin and other drugs. Federal officials believed that keeping a tight lid on prescribing would thwart this black-market trade.
Health Department Takes the Next Step to Address the Regional Opioid Crisis: The Expansion of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Services
To address the growing number of Lake County residents struggling with opioid addictions, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is doubling the capacity of its Medication-Assisted Treatment program. It is expanding treatment to 200 people struggling with opioid addictions through a grant of $325,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
“The expansion of our MAT program is an essential next step in the regional effort to address the opioid epidemic, which has had a devastating impact on local families and their communities,” said Mark Pfister, the Health Department’s interim Executive Director. “The expansion of this program is imperative to helping people change addictive behaviors for the long-term.”
The population of residents in need of substance abuse services has substantially increased in Lake County in alignment with national trends. In 1998, the county had 30 deaths that were attributed to substance abuse. By 2010, that number had more than tripled to 92. Opioid related deaths in 2008 were 47 and increased in 2015 to 58. Heroin-related deaths in 2008 were 30 and increased in 2015 to 42.
For decades, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center has been the primary provider of substance abuse services for residents in the county. Its services include screening brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT), in-patient detox and rehabilitation services, outpatient substance abuse counseling, medication-assisted treatment and women’s residential services. It established an Outpatient Substance Abuse program in the 1970s to address a growing population of residents with substance abuse concerns. The program provided both drug-free treatment as well as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using methadone and Suboxone to treat opioid addiction.
In 2014 the Health Department, in concert with the Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI), began an initiative to save people who had overdosed on opioids. The Health Department’s actions included:
- Instructing law enforcement officers on how to administer naloxone, a drug that temporarily reverses the effect of an opioid to people who had overdosed, using a train the trainer approach.
- Securing a donation of $1.4 million of auto-injectable naloxone from Virginia-based kaléo, enough for police officers across Lake County to carry the product in their squad cars. The first save occurred on Christmas day of 2014 and since then there have been more than 90 lives saved. Officers of 39 local police departments as well as the Sheriff’s Office now carry naloxone in their cars.
- Providing free naloxone training to patients and friends and family members of patients, and to nurses in school settings.
In addition to the increase of treatment slots for the MAT program, the Substance Abuse Program (SAP) at 3004 Grand Avenue in Waukegan has been designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) allowing the Health Department to bill for the services it provides. This is critical to supporting the long term sustainability of the program. The 3004 location will become the Health Department’s ninth health center. Through the HRSA grant and the FQHC designation, the program will be able to:
- Provide prescriptions for methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol along with primary care, substance abuse counseling and supportive services
- Increase medical provider hours
- Add substance abuse counselors
- Add a licensed clinical social worker to act as a care manager
The Health Department will continue to provide information and training to providers and members of law enforcement as it increases its prevention efforts in response to this public health crisis. Continuing to educate providers will be critical in curbing the increase in addiction locally, regionally, and nationally. Countywide collaborations continue to help address the immediate needs of residents and will continue to help shape the agency’s response. The expansion of MAT would not be possible without partnerships, especially the Health Department’s collaboration with the Lake County Opioid Initiative, Nicasa, and others. To inquire about registering for the MAT program, call: (847) 377-8120.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has become increasingly alarmed over the proliferation of illicit fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, the acting head of the agency told a Senate committee Tuesday.
DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told the Senate Judiciary Committee synthetic drugs pose an unprecedented threat for overdoses and deaths, especially among young people in the United States, Reuters reports.
“The yearly market for illegal non-medical prescription pain relievers is over 11 million people, and if fentanyl is introduced into even a small portion of that overall market, there is a likelihood that overdoses will increase,” Rosenberg said in his testimony to the committee. “Fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives represent the deadly convergence of the synthetic drug threat and current national opioid epidemic.”
Last week the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office announced that toxicology tests concluded Prince died from an accidental fentanyl overdose. The office did not specify how the drug was taken, or if it was prescribed or illegally made. Fentanyl is an opioid legally prescribed for cancer treatment. It can be made illicitly, and is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
Rosenberg told the Senate committee the DEA is also concerned about synthetic cannabinoids and their byproducts (sometimes sold under brand names such as “K2” or “Spice”). He noted synthetic drug producers modify chemical formulas in search of new psychoactive substances. “Once a new drug is formulated, the Internet and social media are used to market its arrival on the scene, allowing for its fast adoption and use,” he said. Each newly designed drug must be banned separately through a process Rosenberg called “clunky and cumbersome.”