14:46 PM

Illinois Gets Federal Help for Opioid Epidemic

Dr. Darrell Rust, Emergency Department Physician
It’s not just the junkies. It’s your neighbors. It’s your kids. It’s your mom and dad. It’s everywhere, so be aware.
Dr. Darrell Rust, Emergency Department Physician

The state of Illinois is receiving millions of dollars to help in the fight against opioid abuse and addiction.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will receive more than $16 million in federal money to help fight the state’s opioid crisis. The money will go toward prevention, treatment and recovery services.

OSF HealthCare emergency department physicians say opioid education is the first step in fighting abuse.

“I think people need to be aware - I think people sometimes accidentally overdose and those can certainly be helped with education, and then the education, just as far as dangers that are out there, will help with some people that may have otherwise tried things that ended up getting them in trouble, to the point of even overdosing,” said Dr. Darrell Rust, emergency department physician at OSF HealthCare Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, Illinois.

Dr. Rust Interview

Like many states, Illinois has seen a big increase in drug overdose deaths that can be tied to an increase in opioid use and abuse.

In 2015, IDHS reported 1,835 opioid-related overdose deaths in Illinois - a 16% increase from 2013.

“We see a variety of things,” remarked Dr. Rust. “We see the obvious overdoses, the heroin overdoses and those kinds of things, but we see lots of people using much more pain medication than we previously saw, and it seems to lead to problems.”

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A U.S. surgeon general’s report found only one in 10 people with a substance use disorder receives the care they need, but there are treatment resources available.

“From the point of view both as a physician that treats people with addiction problems and a physician who works in the emergency department, people need to realize that it is a widespread problem, that it’s not just the junkies. It’s your neighbors. It’s your kids. It’s your mom and dad. It’s everywhere, so be aware,” said Dr. Rust.

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If you or a family member are currently struggling with addiction, Dr. Rust recommends speaking with a physician to get immediate help. You may also find more about OSF HealthCare Behavioral Health services by clicking here.