Congressman Randy Hultgren invited government officials from around the congressional district, including State Representative Bob Pritchard, to a meeting on Tuesday August 30th to discuss federal and local efforts to combat heroin abuse and overdoses. The meeting was to address what federal, state and local governments are doing to combat the exponentially rising heroin and opioid overdose rates in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control, overdoses from heroin, prescription drugs, and opioid pain relievers surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death in America last year.
Earlier this summer President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act in to law. The law establishes grant programs to non profits and state and local governments that would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. Part of the meeting was to make local officials aware of these new grant opportunities.
The single biggest gateway to heroin addiction is through pain relieving medication. Efforts to combat overdoses will look at the best practices for pain management to avoid abuse and getting rid of leftover pain medications.
Walgreens has taken steps to install more than 500 “Safe Medication Disposal” kiosk bins in drugstores across the U.S., including 45 bins in Illinois. The kiosk bins will offer friends and family members of persons who no longer need their drugs a safe place to dispose of the special waste. The automated bins will create an opportunity for the secure removal of dangerous drugs, such as opiate painkillers, from a household that no longer needs them. Both prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications may be disposed of in the bins.