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Deaths from opioid overdose are preventable. There is a medicine that can reverse opioid overdose. It’s called naloxone. Get free naloxone and help from Chicago Recovery Alliance and Live4Lali.

Understanding the Epidemic

Content from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Preventing Opioid Use and Overdose

In 2019, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) received $4.7 million in grant funding to prevent opioid overdose deaths and increase access to and use of evidence-based substance use treatment programs.

CCDPH, in partnership with public and non-profit organizations, has launched a comprehensive opioid overdose prevention initiative. The initiative has four major components:

  • Distribution of naloxone to priority law enforcement agencies
  • Training on opioid overdose and naloxone use for law enforcement agencies
  • Technical assistance to establish deflection protocols and programs in three regions of suburban Cook.
  • Quantitative and qualitative data collection on opioid use, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose to help inform health efforts.

Law enforcement agencies that are interested in receiving naloxone through CCDPH’s program can request naloxone at this link. Law enforcement agencies in underserved areas of suburban Cook County will be prioritized.

For more information about opioid overdose in suburban Cook County, please see the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page.

COVID-19 and Opioid Use

Suburban Cook County has not seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths as a result of COVID-19 – at least not yet. CCDPH anticipates a rise in opioid use and opioid overdose as a result of the pandemic, due to the connection between unemployment and opioid use, and well as the other stressors that are a result of COVID-19.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a family of drugs related to opium, including heroin, fentanyl, morphine, codeine, and others. While heroin is illegal, other opioids are legal and available by prescription, usually for the treatment of pain. Opioids are effective and safe when taken in the appropriate doses and for short periods of time. However, they may produce a feeling of euphoria and can be misused for this purpose. Even when used as prescribed, their use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and potentially overdose and death.

The Opioid Epidemic

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths have been decreasing in the United States. The majority of drug overdose deaths (almost 7 out of 10) involve an opioid. More than 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2018, making it the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).