VILLA PARK, Ill. – In an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, state Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, spoke at a recent event in Bloomingdale in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.
“Raising awareness about addiction as a mental health issue and the opioid epidemic as a public mental health crisis is crucial to stopping it,” Conroy said. “I am grateful for yesterday’s event to act as a building block towards creating a strong support system and continuing the dialogue about mental health and addiction. I look forward to more events to provide resources and information to those in need and their loved ones.”
In 2018, there were nearly 100 deaths due to opioids in DuPage County. Although half of all Americans know someone affected by the opioid crisis, only a quarter receive the help they need to get better.
Wednesday’s event was held in conjunction with International Overdose Awareness Day, a global campaign to combat the severe rise in opioid addiction and deaths by reducing the stigma surrounding addiction and supporting those who need help or know someone that does. The event included training on how to administer Narcan, resource tables, and educational videos and discussions.
As Chair of the House Mental Health Committee, Conroy has advocated for a number of reforms to address the opioid epidemic as a mental health crises. She passed Senate Bill 1828 to encourage the creation of needle exchange programs across the state to prevent the spread of illnesses due to intravenous drug usage and needle stick injuries due to improper discarding. She also successfully advocated for an increase in mental health funding in this year’s bi-partisan, balanced budget to programs such as substance abuse prevention and the State Opioid Response Program.