Task force hopes to reduce opioid deaths

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND): The state is trying to reduce the number of opioid deaths. A task force targeted at doing just that is on a listening tour throughout the state.

"We've got a lot of work to do and I think a lot of you can agree with us on that," Evelyn Sanguinetti, Lieutenant Governor and Task Force Co-Chair, says. "This epidemic does not know any class, neighborhood, no color. So we need to get to work."

The round table discussion included local leaders, law enforcement, and a personal addiction story.

The director of Vermillion County Probation and Court Services says the problem is getting worse.

"I've been a probation officer for twenty years," Thomas Gregory says. "When I first started it was a very small number of individuals who used heroin. They were long term dug addicts. Now? It's kids."

The group focused on increasing drug court programs throughout the state. They say they are effective.

"We're very lucky in Vermillion county that we have one," Gregory says. "Champaign County has one. But there are counties that don't."

Discussion also focused on naloxone, the revival drug given to overdose victims.

"Get the naloxone out there. That's the big thing just get it out there," Julie Pryde, with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, says. "Get it into the community and it works. That's number one. You cannot recover if you're dead."

The task force hopes to reduce the amount of opioid deaths by one third in the next three years.

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