Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Plan To Expand Opioid Dependence Treatment

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Plan To Expand Opioid Dependence Treatment

Due to in part to a partnership with the Cook County Jail, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced that the city will grant $700,000 to fund opioid dependence treatment for 1,000 residents this year. The money is to be split among seven community organizations and will be distributed through the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, a move that is meant to help the organizations increase access to treatment for opioid addiction.

The announcement follows Chicago’s substantial naloxone investment, which has saved at least 1,500 lives since the Chicago Recovery Alliance distributed over 4,500 kits funded by the city.

Organizations that will receive money include Access Community Health Network, Esperanza Health Center, Sinai Health System, Haymarket Center, Lawndale Christian Health Center, PCC Wellness, and the Women’s Treatment Center – these will provide opioid addiction treatment to residents across Chicago, and Cermak health will collaborate with the Cook County Jail to offer addiction recovery services to those in the system.

Also, more money will be made available to additional organizations that will help them increase their capacity to offer addiction treatment to Chicago residents. The purpose of the funding is to offer evidence-based approaches to treatment, as well as support services such as transportation and counseling.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will be managing fund distribution, offering training session, and providing educational materials to assist community organization to use the best practices treatment for opioid dependence.

These measures follow a design laid out by the Chicago and Cook County Task Force on Heroin, which issued its last report in October 2016. More programs are set to help address the issue from multiple angles, such as a pilot program with the Chicago Police Department that will place low-level drug offenders into treatment without fear of arrest.

Finally, the city’s department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the CDPH are announcing a new licensing procedure for persons who market or promote opioids and other prescription drugs, which will include ethics training, education, and transparency when communicating with health care providers.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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