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updated: 9/13/2017 6:53 PM

Illinois addressing opioid problem 'on a statewide level,' Sanguinetti says

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  • Mark Buschbacher, executive director of Serenity House Counseling Services, left, shows Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, center, and other officials a meeting space on the drug and alcohol recovery company's Addison campus. Serenity House offers a 90-day residential program, but Buschbacher said he fears many recovering opioid addicts are not able to take enough time for their treatment.

      Mark Buschbacher, executive director of Serenity House Counseling Services, left, shows Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, center, and other officials a meeting space on the drug and alcohol recovery company's Addison campus. Serenity House offers a 90-day residential program, but Buschbacher said he fears many recovering opioid addicts are not able to take enough time for their treatment.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, center, and Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, tour Serenity House Counseling Services in Addison with clinical director Donna Rennard. Sanguinetti said Illinois needs to address the opioid epidemic, which killed 1,889 people in the state last year, on a statewide level by following a new action plan.

      Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, center, and Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, tour Serenity House Counseling Services in Addison with clinical director Donna Rennard. Sanguinetti said Illinois needs to address the opioid epidemic, which killed 1,889 people in the state last year, on a statewide level by following a new action plan.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Buschbacher, executive director of Serenity House Counseling Services in Addison, meets with Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, center, and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti as state officials tour the facility to promote work toward the state's new opioid action plan to address addiction and overdose deaths.

      Mark Buschbacher, executive director of Serenity House Counseling Services in Addison, meets with Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, center, and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti as state officials tour the facility to promote work toward the state's new opioid action plan to address addiction and overdose deaths.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • James Amabile, left, operations coordinator at Serenity House Counseling Services in Addison, talks about how his life bottomed out and reblossomed. Amabile shared his story with state officials, including Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, right, who were meeting to discuss a new statewide opioid action plan.

      James Amabile, left, operations coordinator at Serenity House Counseling Services in Addison, talks about how his life bottomed out and reblossomed. Amabile shared his story with state officials, including Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, right, who were meeting to discuss a new statewide opioid action plan.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

The opioid epidemic claimed the lives of 1,889 people in Illinois last year, but the state has a new action plan and a task force to try to address the interwoven issues of addiction.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, discussed the new plan Wednesday in Addison as they toured Serenity House Counseling Services, which offers a 90-day residential treatment program for opioid users to help them begin a life of recovery.

Their visit came after Gov. Bruce Rauner last week appointed Sanguinetti and Shah as leaders of the new Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. The group aims to reduce overdose-related deaths by a third within three years.

"We've come here today to talk about our opioid intervention plan, as well as our task force so that we could start attacking this epidemic on a statewide level," Sanguinetti said, "rather than working in silos, which have not proven effective over the years."

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