DuPage County Board Funds $100K Toward Opioid Crisis

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The DuPage County Board is funding $100,000 toward combating the opioid crisis in our county.

Representatives from the Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education, or HOPE, Taskforce announced at the most recent county board meeting their plans for the funds. The first $50,000 will go toward a substance use treatment navigation system.

“Which will enable us to ensure a partnership of providers is available to treat substance abuse as a medication condition. This will also provide an expansion of services to both quickly and effectively link individuals with treatment,” explained Executive Director of HOPE Taskforce Karen Ayala.

The second initiative is to develop a specialty first-offender drug court, an idea from Chief Judge Dan Guerin.

“Our goal is not to just throw someone in jail because they violated,” said Guerin. “Our goal is to work with the person and have graduated sanctions. So we may need GPS devices more than we have. We may need alcohol bracelets in addition to what we have. We need drug patches. Things like this as we try to keep them out of jail and try to have them successful so they don’t end up with a felony conviction.”

Chief Judge Guerin hopes to have the specialty first-offender drug court running by July.

The HOPE Taskforce also garnered federal dollars through the substance abuse and mental health services administration to support Narcan with law enforcement, which also will be used to expand Narcan to citizens who want to be trained and carry it as well.

The HOPE Taskforce was formed in January 2018 as an interagency-interdisciplinary advisory group to the county board.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.