Lawrence M. Walsh
Opioid overdose deaths are continuing to rise across the nation and in Illinois, a dramatic increase was reported in Illinois in 2016. More than 2,000 opioid overdose deaths occurred last year, a 44 increase over 2013. Congressman Bill Foster is joining officials in Will County to share information about the science of addiction and strategies to stop overdose deaths at a forum to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23 at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago Street in Joliet.
“We are fortunate to have seen a decrease in the number of overdose deaths due to our efforts in Will County,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “We have trained our police officers and numerous other residents to administer Narcan, a life-saving drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. And through the Safe Passage program in our police departments, which is connecting people with treatment. But there is still much work to be done and we are thankful for the support of Congressman Foster in support of this issue.”
“We know addiction is not a moral failing,” Foster said. “Addiction is a medical disease and the use of opiates have a significant effect on the brain. I am proud to bring experts in the fields of addiction and treatment, brain science and addiction, and responsible prescription use to this forum. As County Executive Walsh has said many times, it will take all of us working together to find a solution to this epidemic.”
The panel will include Dr. Kathleen Burke, Will County’s Director of Substance Use Initiatives. She will talk about addiction and treatment, as well as programs already in place in the county. Dr. Vargas will speak about the brain and the scientific effects of opioids on the brain. And Dr. Jennifer Byrd will talk about responsible prescribing practices relating to opioids.
“These experts have been on the front lines of this issue for some time,” Foster said. “I am proud to bring this important, informative forum to the residents of Will County. The more information we have about opioids and addiction, the more prepared we are to find a real solution to this epidemic.”
For more information about this forum, contact Congressman Foster’s Joliet office at (815) 280-5876.