SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As the overdose crisis continues to impact communities across Illinois, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, will join IDPH Director Sameer Vohra, the Illinois Harm Reduction and Recovery Coalition, advocates and colleagues to highlight existing efforts to help people as well as reaffirm the commitment of the General Assembly to support harm reduction measures.

Ford will lead a Capitol Blue Room press conference on the subject this Wednesday, April 17 at 10 a.m.

“We’re losing thousands of lives every year to opioid-related overdoses, and the disproportionate impact on Black communities is alarming,” said Ford. “We’re fortunate to have people who are working hard every day to connect with those who need help, providing necessary resources and helping to prevent tragedies. It’s critical that the state has their back and is willing to pursue thoughtful harm reduction strategies.”

“Addressing the overdose crisis demands a comprehensive public health response and is crucial to achieving our statewide goal of ending HIV transmissions outlined in the Illinois Getting to Zero Plan,” said Aces Lira, AIDS Foundation Chicago’s Policy and Advocacy Manager. “As we confront this challenge, we recognize a concerning pattern where progress is hindered by stigma towards people who use drugs. We stand united with harm reduction advocates statewide, who courageously share their personal stories with legislators. Together, we will pave the way for proven interventions like an Overdose Prevention Site to become a reality.”

Ford’s House Resolution 665 marks this week as Harm Reduction Solidarity Week, noting the thousands of lives lost every year in Illinois to opioid-related overdoses, while also highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to help individuals.

To build awareness, advocates this week in Springfield are wearing purple in solidarity with harm reductionists. Additionally, they will meet with lawmakers, discuss ongoing policy efforts – such as the Overdose Prevention Site Pilot Bill (House Bill 2/Senate Bill 78) – and provide a demonstration of what an Overdose Prevention Site provides in the Capitol rotunda.

For more information, please contact RepFord@LaShawnFord.com or ALira@AIDSChicago.org.

Who: State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, IDPH Director Sameer Vohra, state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, state Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek, Illinois Harm Reduction and Recovery Coalition, harm reduction advocates

What: Recognizing Harm Reduction Solidarity Week, House Resolution 665

When: Wednesday, April 17; 10 a.m.

Where: Capitol Blue Room

Rep. La Shawn FordRep. La Shawn Ford

8th District

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