Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced an increased community investment to continue to fight the national opioid epidemic on a local level, in communities most at risk. A new partnership with Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA) will expand community interventions, place-based behavioral health support and opioid addiction treatment.
“The City of Chicago will continue to lead the fight against opioid addiction, to keep children and families healthy and to hold those who wish to make a profit off of pain accountable,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is the latest in a series of comprehensive actions to support residents against opioids on all fronts – expanding community interventions, legal filings to protect residents against prescribing abuse and increasing accountability for the pharmaceutical industry.”
Following a competitive bidding process, CDPH awarded $225,000 to the CRA, in partnership with Men and Women in Prison Ministries (MWIPM) and Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS), to hire and train community members with lived experiences with opioid addiction as peer health workers. Peer workers will work to identify and effectively respond to opioid overdoses, and increasing awareness about opioid overdose prevention. Using an evidence-based outreach model, peer workers will disseminate overdose prevention information, distribute naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, and connect fellow community members with treatment resources.
“By investing in our communities, we will empower residents to share knowledge and resources so they can reduce the negative impact opioids are having on our communities,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “Now community members with lived experiences will educate their neighbors and friends not just on the potential dangers of opioids, but on how to reverse deadly overdoses and get effective treatment.”
This past year, CDPH released a report showing rates of overdoses involving opioids across Chicago. As a result, CDPH has focused its recent addiction treatment investments to be responsive to the evidence, and the vast majority of recipients of such services in 2017 were black and Hispanic residents from the south and west sides. The CRA community health workers will also be focusing predominately on those areas most heavily impacted by opioid overdose deaths,
“We applaud CDPH for its continued commitment to combat the opioid epidemic. Working directly with impacted communities is a necessary component of addressing the problem,” said Dan Bigg, Chicago Recovery Alliance. “We know that addressing the opioid epidemic in Chicago requires many partners working together. We are proud to be one of those partners.”
Additional communities receiving services will include South Lawndale, East and West Garfield Park, Near West Side, Lower West Side, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, West Englewood, Fuller Park, Douglas Park, Oakland, Washington Park, Greater Grand Crossing, Woodlawn, Chatham, South Chicago, Burnside, West Pullman and Riverdale, IL.
Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s leadership, CDPH has launched a comprehensive effort to reduce the negative impacts of opioid use. Today’s news follows a series of strategic initiatives: