* Press release…
Today, JB Pritzker with the support of State Representative Deb Conroy unveiled his plan to combat Illinois’ opioid crisis as governor. With Illinois experiencing an over 44 percent increase in drug-related overdoses from 2013 to 2016, JB’s plan is a multi-faceted approach to reduce the rate of addiction through education, remove barriers to treatment, and encourage treatment instead of incarceration.
The key components of JB’s plan to combat the opioid crisis in Illinois include:
Focus on Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Education.
Reduce the Risks of Prescription Opioids.
Remove Barriers to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery.
Work with the Criminal Justice System to Prioritize Treatment Over Incarceration.
Ensure Health Insurance Companies Cover Addiction Treatment Fairly.
Leverage Federal Funding Opportunities to Fight the Opioid Epidemic Locally.
Read the full plan HERE.
“The opioid crisis in Illinois is ending too many lives and devastating too many families,” said JB Pritzker. “While this crisis is only getting worse, Bruce Rauner is once again failing to lead. From vetoing the Heroin Crisis Act to proposing funding cuts for addiction treatment, Rauner has failed as Illinois’ opioid crisis spirals out of control. It’s time for a governor ready to lead and I know that by working together and investing in prevention and treatment, we can combat the opioid epidemic in Illinois and create real, lasting change. We can and we will break the cycle of addiction today and for future generations.”
“Opioids have ravaged our communities and taken far too many lives, and it’s time Illinois had a governor ready to take concrete action to combat this epidemic,” said State Representative Deb Conroy. “While Bruce Rauner has turned a blind eye to this growing crisis, I was proud to work with JB Pritzker on this plan that will make a real difference for Illinoisans struggling with addiction. JB’s plan centers around mental health and makes both the prevention and treatment of addiction top priorities. We cannot ignore this epidemic, and it is clear that JB cares and has a plan to tackle the opioid crisis head on.”
* A few excerpts. Reducing the risks of prescriptions…
To combat prescription opioid abuse, I will work with physicians to put in place measures that help keep people safe. I will fight to strengthen Illinois’ prescription monitoring program so that physicians and pharmacies have access to accurate information about the quantity of opioids their patients receive. I will also work to ensure that physicians are better trained in the dangers of opioid addiction and treatment options as part of continuing medical education.
Finally, as called for in the updated prescribing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I will support legislation to implement comprehensive prescribing guidelines that further limit the number of days of an initial opioid prescription, which can reduce the risk for addiction.
* Removing barriers…
As governor, I will use a multi-pronged approach to remove barriers to addiction and mental health treatment and recovery. I will restore the treatment, housing, and workforce development supports that were decimated under Bruce Rauner and look for ways to expand capacity across the state for treatment services.
Additionally, I will facilitate coordination between hospitals and social service agencies to ensure that individuals who receive emergency treatment for drug use are directed to treatment programs when they’re discharged. We also need to expand jail and prison substance use disorder case management systems to connect individuals to community treatment upon release. This coordination will give those suffering from drug addiction the tools they need to transition into recovery.
* Treatment over incarceration…
As governor, I will work to increase access to problem-solving drug courts, ensure that judges understand the available treatment options, and ensure those options are more readily available. That means having enough space to meet demand in rehabilitation programs, including both inpatient or medication-assisted treatment programs. Providing access to this treatment will help formerly incarcerated people ease back in to the community, increasing their chances to rehabilitate their lives and reducing the likelihood of recidivism.
* Insurance coverage…
However, a recent report found that 75 percent of Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) denied coverage for a range of treatments. This is in addition to almost half of commercial insurance companies that deny coverage for inpatient treatment and nearly one-third that deny coverage for partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and medication-assisted treatment. The report also found that both Medicaid MCOs and commercial insurance companies regularly use other barriers to care for mental health and substance use disorder treatment short of outright denial.
As governor, I will work to ensure that insurance companies provide the coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment that they are lawfully required to cover. I will strengthen enforcement of the state’s parity laws and close loopholes that still allow insurance companies and MCOs to partially deny coverage based on a range of non-quantitative treatment limitations. I will also work to expand healthcare across our state, through my first-in-the-nation public option health insurance program, IllinoisCares.
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