July 8, 2016
June 29, 2016
Health Department Takes the Next Step to Address the Regional Opioid Crisis: The Expansion of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Services
“The expansion of our MAT program is an essential next step in the regional effort to address the opioid epidemic, which has had a devastating impact on local families and their communities,” said Mark Pfister, the Health Department’s interim Executive Director. “The expansion of this program is imperative to helping people change addictive behaviors for the long-term.”
The population of residents in need of substance abuse services has substantially increased in Lake County in alignment with national trends. In 1998, the county had 30 deaths that were attributed to substance abuse. By 2010, that number had more than tripled to 92. Opioid related deaths in 2008 were 47 and increased in 2015 to 58. Heroin-related deaths in 2008 were 30 and increased in 2015 to 42.
For decades, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center has been the primary provider of substance abuse services for residents in the county. Its services include screening brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT), in-patient detox and rehabilitation services, outpatient substance abuse counseling, medication-assisted treatment and women’s residential services. It established an Outpatient Substance Abuse program in the 1970s to address a growing population of residents with substance abuse concerns. The program provided both drug-free treatment as well as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using methadone and Suboxone to treat opioid addiction.
In 2014 the Health Department, in concert with the Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI), began an initiative to save people who had overdosed on opioids. The Health Department’s actions included:
- Instructing law enforcement officers on how to administer naloxone, a drug that temporarily reverses the effect of an opioid to people who had overdosed, using a train the trainer approach.
- Securing a donation of $1.4 million of auto-injectable naloxone from Virginia-based kaléo, enough for police officers across Lake County to carry the product in their squad cars. The first save occurred on Christmas day of 2014 and since then there have been more than 90 lives saved. Officers of 39 local police departments as well as the Sheriff’s Office now carry naloxone in their cars.
- Providing free naloxone training to patients and friends and family members of patients, and to nurses in school settings.
- Provide prescriptions for methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol along with primary care, substance abuse counseling and supportive services
- Increase medical provider hours
- Add substance abuse counselors
- Add a licensed clinical social worker to act as a care manager
June 23, 2016
Throughout this season, businesses throughout Lake County saw teens entering their stores attempting to purchase alcohol. This was part of a county-wide effort to continue promoting positive practices by stores and restaurants that sell alcohol. Law enforcement agencies worked with local groups and young adults to see if they could purchase alcohol with identification that showed they were under 21.
“Consistency from community to community and monitoring underage drinking issues will help us be successful in addressing this problem and saving lives. Our desire is to see 100% compliance, but it is refreshing to see the majority of businesses realize the seriousness of this issue and did not sell alcohol to the underage participants.” commented Bruce Johnson, Chairman of the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force.
Sale of alcohol to a person under 21 years of age is illegal under local and State laws and is a
Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, fine or probation.
Liquor compliance checks are part of an initiative by the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force which was formed to combine the efforts of the Lake County Chiefs of Police Association and the Lake County After School Coalition in the prevention of underage consumption of alcohol and drug use. This group is made up of a diverse group of citizens including community members, parents, law enforcement personnel and other professionals.