Category Archives: Uncategorized

Award Winning Goodness!

AWO LogoToday we are pleased to announce that the Lake County Opioid Initiative won a national award from the Addiction Policy Forum for the A Way Out program. States Attorney Mike Nerheim and LCOI Executive Director Bill Gentes accepted the award in Springfield earlier today.

Read about what the Addiction Policy Forum said about the program in this article on their website. (Link is here)


One of America’s richest families is accused of profiting from the nation’s opioid crisis

cnn_logo_2449(CNN)–A court ruling Monday in Massachusetts will expose details about one of America’s richest families and their connection to the nation’s opioid crisis.

The Sacklers and members of their company Purdue Pharma have been named in a lawsuit that accuses them of profiting from the opioid crisis by aggressively marketing OxyContin, claims denied by attorneys for the family and Purdue.
The suit had been heavily redacted, but on Monday, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders ruled that the unredacted amended complaint must be publicly released by February 1.

In the order, Sanders calls the defense’s protests “hardly compelling” enough to keep the information secret, adding that it is not intensely personal or private.

A group of hospitals have built a nonprofit generic drugmaker

Hospitals have a creative plan to tackle the high price and frequent shortages of generic drugs. The nonprofit company, dubbed Civica Rx, was first announced in early 2018, and has gained a lot of attention from other hospitals around the US who are interested in being a part of the venture.

On Monday, the organization said that another 12 health systems had joined its ranks, including Illinois and Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health, Michigan’s Spectrum Health, and NYU Langone Health. Together, they make add another 250 hospitals to the venture.

For more follow this link.

CDC says: Fentanyl Surpasses Heroin As Drug Most Often Involved In Deadly Overdoses

Fentanyl is now the drug most frequently involved in overdose deaths in the U.S., according to a National Vital Statistics System report published Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report sheds a bright light on the changing nature of America’s drug landscape — and the devastating number of overdose deaths that have occurred in the U.S. in recent years.

Back in 2011, oxycodone was the drug most commonly linked to overdose deaths. Starting in 2012 and lasting until 2015, heroin surpassed painkillers to become the drug most often involved. But then fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, infiltrated the American drug supply — what the CDC calls “the third wave” of the opioid epidemic. By 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl had become more common than any other.

Researchers found that the rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl (or one of its analogs) doubled each year from 2013 to 2016. Deaths involving heroin have also continued to rise, increasing threefold from 2011 to 2016.

These numbers have only continued to rise in 2017, according to a separate CDC data brief issued in November. It states that the rate of overdose deaths involving fentanyl had risen to 9 per 100,000 people, compared to 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.

The numbers in the National Vital Statistics System report show how fentanyl took a lethal hold quickly after the drug widely entered the American drug market. In 2011 and again 2012, fentanyl was mentioned in about 1,600 drug overdose deaths. By 2016, fentanyl was connected to 18,335 such deaths: it was linked to 29 percent of all drug overdose deaths that year.

In more than two-thirds of the overdose deaths involving fentanyl, one or more other drugs were present. That’s not surprising, because drugs including heroin and cocaine are now often sold with fentanyl mixed in. Sometimes people believe they are taking pure heroin or cocaine, but the drug is laced with fentanyl. Such situations can easily lead to overdose.

The report also highlights the importance for accurate reporting in the text of death certificates. A study published earlier this year found that the U.S. has been undercounting opioid-related deaths by 20 to 35 percent, due to varying standards between states and counties for investigating and reporting overdose deaths. Coroners and medical examiners often don’t state exactly which drugs contributed to a death on a death certificate.

Fentanyl Test Strips now Available

The Lake County Health Department has just added fentanyl test strips to be given to participants that comes in for clean needles and supplies. With these strips they can test to see if there is Fentanyl in the product they are planning on using.

This is a program partnership between the Lake County Health Department, the Chicago Recovery Alliance and Live4Lali. For a flyer click here.

You can find this service at the
Lake County Health Department
Belvidere Medical Building
2400 Belvidere Road, Room 1132
Waukegan, IL 60085

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Other Harm Reduction Services that are available:

  • Naloxone, clean needles, fentanyl test strips, and condoms
  • HIV and Hepatitis C testing
  • Counseling
  • Medical Care
  • Dental Care
  • Women’s Health
  • and more

For more information, call:
Lake County Health Department at (847) 377-8450
Live4Lali at (844) 584-5254


Resource: Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder

nih-nida-logoThis is an overview of a great page on the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website, which has quite a few links and research around medications for opioid’s.

An estimated 2.1 million people in the United States had a substance use disorder related to prescription opioid pain medicines in 2016.1 However, only a fraction of people with prescription opioid use disorders receive specialty treatment (17.5 percent in 2016).1 Overdose deaths linked to these medicines were five times higher in 2016 than 1999.2 There is now also a rise in heroin use and heroin use disorder as some people shift from prescription opioids to their cheaper street relative; 626,000 people had a heroin use disorder in 2016, and more than 15,000 Americans died of a heroin overdose in 2016.1,3 Besides overdose, consequences of the opioid crisis include a rising incidence of infants born dependent on opioids because their mothers used these substances during pregnancy4,5 and increased spread of infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), as was seen in 2015 in southern Indiana.6

Effective prevention and treatment strategies exist for opioid misuse and use disorder but are highly underutilized across the United States. An initiative of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)7 began in 2015 to address the complex problem of prescription opioid and heroin use. In 2017, HHS announced five priorities for addressing the opioid crisis:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. advancing better practices for pain management

Effective medications exist to treat opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications could help many people recover from opioid use disorder, but they remain highly underutilized. Fewer than half of private-sector treatment programs offer medications for opioid use disorders, and of patients in those programs who might benefit, only a third actually receive it.9 Overcoming the misunderstandings and other barriers that prevent wider adoption of these treatments is crucial for tackling the problem of opioid use disorder and the epidemic of opioid overdose in the United States.

For more go here.

The A Way Program turns 2 this month

AWO LogoThe Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI) is proud to announce that the Waukegan Police Department and the Lake Zurich Police Department have been added as entry points for the Lake County Opioid Initiative’s ‘A Way Out’ (AWO) Program. With these additions, there are now a total of thirteen ‘A Way Out’ police entry points across Lake County.
“The City of Waukegan is very grateful for the opportunity to join this program.  This will be another tool that the Waukegan Police Department will have to combat the opioid crisis and further assist our residents and their families in mitigating the direct and indirect effects of opioid abuse,” said Wayne Walles, Waukegan Police Chief.

395 participants have accessed treatment via the ‘A Way Out’ Program

The eleven police departments currently participating in the program include:

  • Deerfield Police Department
  • Fox Lake Police Department
  • Grayslake Police Department
  • Gurnee Police Department
  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff’s Marine Unit, Sheriff’s Highway Patrol
  • Lake Forest Police Department
  • Libertyville Police Department
  • Mundelein Police Department
  • Round Lake Beach Police Department
  • Round Lake Park Police Department
  • Zion Police Department

‘A Way Out’ is a program developed by the Lake County Opioid Initiative to create additional treatment access points, reduce crime, reduce substance-related harms, and re-frame the role law enforcement plays in community safety. Through the program, people seeking help for their substance use can go to one of the police entry points and request help. The police work with the Lake County Health Department to find appropriate treatment for the individual. Substance use is a public health problem, and this program addresses it as such.

The current participating police departments have helped 395 individuals access treatment since ‘A Way Out’s’ inception on June 1, 2016. The total number of individuals helped into a treatment provider by year are:

  • 60 individuals in 2016
  • 209 individuals in 2017
  • 96 individuals up to May 2018

AWO’s largest residential and outpatient treatment providers are: Gateway Lake Villa, the Lake County Health Department, Chicago Behavioral Health Hospital, and NICASA Behavioral Health Services. Furthermore, AWO is averaging just over 15 participants per month – with September 2017 being the largest served month as 34 participants accessed treatment.

  • Approximately, 78% of AWO’s total placement is to residential treatment programs
  • The average age of the participant is 32.5 years old.

“The Lake Zurich Police Department is looking forward to being able to offer treatment options to those who need them through the ‘A Way Out’ program. This is a vital community care-taking function that the Department is committed to,” said Steve Husak, Lake Zurich Police Department.

The Lake County Opioid Initiative is committed to developing, implementing, evaluating and sustaining a multi-strategy county-wide effort to prevent opioid abuse, addiction, overdose, and death.

In addition to the ‘A Way Out’ program, the Lake County Opioid Initiative has launched other programs to help support citizens impacted by the opioid epidemic. The Police Naloxone Program has saved 262 lives since December 25, 2014. Text-A-Tip, a digital crisis intervention service, has received a total of 17,039 texts since September 30, 2015. Finally, the Lake County Opioid Initiative has collaborated with community leaders to bring prevention education information to parents and students. In the year 2018, a total of five opioid/heroin prevention education programs have been conducted across Lake County.

LCOI also supports a network of prescription disposal boxes in Lake County. Partnerships include: Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO); municipal law enforcement, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Lake County Health Department, the Lake County Opioid Initiative, and the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force. In the year 2017, over 13,000 pounds of unwanted/unused prescription drugs were collected.

To raise funds to continue accessibility of these programs, the Lake County Opioid Initiative will be hosting its first annual ‘Save a Life’ fundraising event at the Double-Tree by Hilton in Mundelein, IL on September 14, 2018 at 6:30pm.

For more information regarding the ‘A Way Out’ program, please visit

Joint State’s Attorneys Letter to the Editor

dh-logo-252x50As state’s attorneys working to counter the devastating effects of opioids in our communities, we appreciated the recent visit of U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to Sugar Grove. We agree with him that the availability of naloxone — the antidote to an opioid overdose — is a key tool to save lives.

In addition, as law enforcement officials, we are committed to aggressively pursuing drug dealers and cartels, promoting drug drop-off programs where people can safely get rid of their old prescriptions, and taking action in court against pharmaceutical companies that have lied about the exceptionally addictive nature of their opioid products.

We also believe that it is time to open up a new front in this fight to save lives. There are two sides of this problem: supply and demand. The above measures focus on opioid supply — but we need to be equally aggressive in reducing demand.

That effort has to start in early childhood. A new report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids — an organization of which we are all members — has released a report showing that home visiting programs for new and expecting parents can reduce traumatic experiences for children. That, in turn, can reduce the likelihood that children will misuse or become addicted to both prescription and illicit opioids once they become teens or adults.

It is our hope that these voluntary “parent-coaching” programs for at-risk parents — and similar, prevention-oriented early childhood efforts — will be fully funded and protected in the state budget that Illinois leaders are assembling. Investing in prevention oriented programs now will pay dividends in the future. Prevention, starting in kids’ earliest years of life, must be an essential component in our strategies to overcome the grave outcomes of opioid dependency.

Robert Berlin, DuPage County State’s Attorney
Joseph McMahon, Kane County State’s Attorney
Michael Nerheim, Lake County State’s Attorney


Some Drug Disposal coverage from WBBM

To see the video click the link below.

Fighting The Opioid Epidemic At Drop-Off Sites

Drug Disposal Day this Saturday

We’re deeply concerned by the opioid crisis that has impacted families in every corner of the United States. We started by thinking about how to bring Google’s technical expertise to help families combat the epidemic.

Research by the federal government has shown that prescription drug abuse is a large driver of opioid addiction, and that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family or friends, often from a home medicine cabinet. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has found that one way that Americans can help prevent drug abuse and addiction is to properly dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs. Yet many people aren’t aware of, or can’t easily find, prescription drug disposal programs in their communities.

Using Google Maps API, our team worked with the DEA to create a locator tool for the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 28. The locator tool can help anyone find a place near them to safely dispose of leftover prescription medications.

For the map and the rest of the article click here.