Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti addresses state’s response to opioid crisis


Elisabeth Neely

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti speaks to attendees of the Opioid Crisis Conference.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti discussed the state of Illinois’ response to the opioid crisis in a speech at the I-Hotel and Conference Center on Friday.

The speech was part of the University’s social work policy and practice responses to the opioid crisis conference.

“I love meeting people that focus on helping others, and all of you give me great hope to humanity as I see your interests and young faces,” Sanguinetti said. “You are already public servants and you’re already committed to carrying it forward.”

The Governor’s Office implemented a statewide helpline that opioid users and others affected by the opioid epidemic can call to receive treatment and recovery support services, she said.

According to a recent report by the Illinois Department of Human Services, of the 2,278 Illinois statewide drug overdose deaths during 2016, over 80 percent were opioid-related fatalities.

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“It’s a really important issue, especially for a future social worker to hear people talking about the epidemic, especially in our state,” Alexandra Kontos, sophomore in Education, said. “I wanted to learn how to become a better practitioner in the future regarding this issue.”

Sanguinetti said Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law requiring doctors and other prescribers of opioids to check and record their actions in the Prescription Monitoring System, a database that tracks prescriptions of opioids.

Sanguinetti emphasized the importance of community-based methods of solving the opioid epidemic and dispelling the stigma around opioid treatment.

“We can’t arrest our way out of this,” Sanguinetti said. “We can’t sit back and let this epidemic continue.”

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