Nov. 26, 2019 - Illinois is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic, according to public health officials. Across the state, opioid overdoses have taken the lives of thousands of residents.
The issue has touched virtually every community, including Oak Park, which is why reducing illicit use of opioids was included among the top priorities in the most recent Oak Park and River Forest Community Health Plan released in 2017.
The Oak Park Department of Public Health has joined agencies across the state in adopting and promoting programs to help prevent opioid abuse.
Officials recommend storing medications out of reach of children and in a safe space — preferably locked — to prevent access by other family members and visitors.
A limited supply of safe storage lockboxes is available to Oak Park residents by visiting the Health Department at Village Hall, 123 Madison St.
Call 708.358.5480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to check on availability. Lockboxes can also be purchased online.
Safe drug disposal options
Safe disposal of unwanted opioids and other prescription drugs is an important step in preventing overdoses.
Convenient prescription drug disposal is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the lobby of the Oak Park Police Department at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. Needles and other liquid waste are not accepted. For more information on the Village’s drug collection service, call 708.386.3800 or email email@example.com.
Substance use is a chronic disease that can be treated. Officials note that while everyone’s path to recovery is different, treatment is the first step.
The Illinois Helpline can help anyone struggling with opioid, alcohol and/or other drug use. Call 833.2FINDHELP to talk with a helpline specialist about individualized treatment services.
A tailored list of services in the area also is available by answering a few anonymous questions online at www.helplineil.org.
In addition, the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township offers a free online tool The HUB at www.healthconnectionhub.org, which helps connect with a large network of free and/or reduced-cost substance abuse programs and services in the Oak Park area.
For more information about public health initiatives to counter opioid abuse, contact the Oak Park Health Department at 708.358.5480, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.oak-park.us/health.