MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, the state of Illinois has started an Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force.
To begin figuring out how to deal with the epidemic, the task force is hosting a listening tour throughout the state, hearing stories from those affected by the crisis and taking suggestions.
In Mt. Vernon, there was a full house of people at the Jefferson County Health Department as the forum opened.
Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti headed the discussion on Friday, October 13.
Sanguinetti began the meeting by describing the growing number of opioid related deaths and overdoses in the state.
A panel of designated speakers told their stories and opened up the floor for discussion. Among them were mothers who lost their children, recovered addicts, law enforcement, community leaders and more.
Discussions about the severity of the epidemic and what to do about it commenced from these first hand experiences.
The task force listened to each panel member and asked questions when speakers finished.
The discussion focused on these topics:
- How to treat addicts with limited resources
- How to prevent people from becoming opioid addicts
- How law enforcement should deal with this issue
- What problems law enforcement face
- Other options for treating pain without the use of opioids
Multiple members of the panel discussed the option of treating pain as well as addiction through use of medical marijuana.
The task forced listened to all the ideas and experiences that came up in the two hour meeting.
Sanguinetti said this is a positive step in the right direction for stopping the opioid crisis.
"I think it's so important that we're now dealing with this epidemic, that we deal with it on a statewide basis. We now have our task force. We now have our plan. And now the next part is implementing that plan."