Durbin, Duckworth Announce More Than $16 Million in Federal Funding to Combat Opioid Addiction Epidemic in Illinois

CHICAGO – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that Illinois will receive $16,328,583 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help combat the prescription drug epidemic that has been ravaging the state.  This funding, which is the first of two rounds provided for in the 21st Century Cures Act, will support a comprehensive array of prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

“The heroin and prescription drug addiction crisis impacts every community across Illinois – urban, suburban, and rural.  Many of the addiction and overdose stories I hear as I travel the state are the same, all of them are heartbreaking, and most, sadly, begin with prescription painkillers,” Durbin said.  “Despite this, too few Illinoisans are getting the care they need. This funding will provide critical resources to prevent addiction and increase treatment for the communities in our state that are on the frontlines of this crisis.”

“The opioid crisis continues to devastate families in Illinois and all across the country, and we cannot afford to lose any more of our children to this epidemic. Resolving this crisis requires a comprehensive, fully funded effort to support prevention and treatment services, and these investments will go a long way towards ending the opioid epidemic once and for all,” said Duckworth.

Over the past 25 years, the number of opioid pain relievers dispensed in the United States has skyrocketed—from 76 million prescriptions in 1991 to more than 245 million prescriptions in 2014.  The increase in opioid-related overdose deaths has mirrored the dramatic rise in opioid prescribing, with more than 33,000 deaths in 2015.  In Illinois, there were 1,835 overdose deaths in 2015, a 16 percent increase in just two years. At the same time, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, Facing Addiction in America, only one in ten Americans suffering with a substance use disorder receive the specialty care they need.