CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Tuesday the launch of a statewide helpline to provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances.
This is the first time Illinois will have one phone number for people to call to find help, and will serve as a confidential outlet.
“This helpline will provide a quick way for Illinoisans struggling with dangerous addictions to access resources, treatment options, and support,” Rauner said. “We are focused on helping them get on the road to recovery to combat further drug overdose tragedies.”
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav Shah says a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helped Illinois set up the round-the-clock hotline.
“Overcoming a demon as difficult as substance use disorder (SUD) is rarely something that can be done by oneself, and it’s not a journey that anyone has to make alone,” Shah said. “We’re hopeful the new 24-hour helpline will connect people with the services they need and address some of the challenges communities face.”
Maria Brunei, an assistant secretary at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), says trained operators will be standing by. “There’s not a script, they will treat every caller as a unique person with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses and problems.”
According to IDPH data, opioid overdoses nearly 2,000 people in Illinois in 2016 — more than one and a half times the number of homicides and nearly twice the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. Furthermore, IDHS data estimates that approximately 248,000 Illinois residents need treatment for illicit drug use, but do not receive it.
Rauner said his goal is to reduce opioid overdose deaths by at least one-third in the next few years.
The number is: 1-833-2FINDHELP.