Lawrence M. Walsh
The 2016 HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition Community Summit will focus on the implementation of a sweeping new state law designed to tackle the deadly heroin epidemic that has plagued Will County, Illinois and our entire Nation.
This year’s event, sponsored by the grassroots HERO organization, Will County HELPS, and the Southwest Coalition for Substance Abuse Issues, is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. until noon on Friday, April 29 at the Edward Hospital Athletic and Event Center, 55 Phelps Ave. in Romeoville. The focus of this year’s event is “The Heroin Crisis Act: What it Means for You.”
The Heroin Crisis Act, passed by the Illinois General Assembly in May 2015, has been hailed as one of the most comprehensive bills in the nation because it focuses on many facets of the heroin epidemic and use of opioid painkillers.
The law establishes requirements for expanded insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment as well as increased access to treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. It also provides a blueprint for additional drug-prevention education, prescription drug monitoring, expanded access to naloxone (Narcan®), prescription medication disposal, overdose reporting by hospitals, physician opioid prescription requirements, and more.
New regulations touch nine different state agencies including the Departments of Human Services, Insurance, Public Health, Financial and Professional Regulation, the State Board of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the State Police.
“This new law addresses many aspects of what we consider to be a public health crisis,” said Paul Lauridsen, chairman of the event. “We are honored to have leaders from several state agencies who will delve into specifics as to how this comprehensive bill will help them address the heroin epidemic.”
Health insurance providers, pharmacists, doctors, educators, law enforcement officials, families, and the public are encouraged to attend in order to hear the latest information about how the regulations in Heroin Crisis Act are being implemented.
“While much has been done to increase awareness about the heroin epidemic and opioid use in our communities, there is still a lot of information that needs to be explained to the public about this new law,” Lauridsen said. “Unfortunately heroin and pain-killer abuse continues to rise at an alarming rate, and it will take everyone working together to find a solution.”
In 2015, 51 people in Will County died as the result of a heroin overdose.
CPDUs, CMEs and CEUs are provided for education, medical, social work professionals, licensed professional counselors, and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support professionals.