Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer Thomas C. Wright was among the treatment professionals who testified before a newly formed 39-member Illinois House Bipartisan Task Force on Heroin, which has convened hearings in Northern Illinois to better understand the problem and the solutions.
The House recently declared heroin to be a statewide public health crisis. Rosecrance was asked to provide testimony about treatment and solutions to a health crisis that has caused thousands of overdoses – hundreds of them fatal – across the state. Dr. Wright and Craig Stallings, administrator of Rosecrance’s adult treatment center, testified on April 17 at a hearing at Arlington Heights Village Hall. State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is chairing the task force.
The next hearing is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at Addison Village Hall, 1 Friendship Plaza, Addison.
At the first hearing, held April 15 in downtown Chicago at the Bilandic Building, lawmakers produced testimony about the extent of the problem. Area law enforcement officials spoke about how heroin was affecting communities under their jurisdiction, and family members of people who had overdosed testified to the human toll of the deadly drug.
On April 17, lawmakers began hearing testimony about solutions, including treatment options, which was the subject of Dr. Wright’s and Mr. Stallings’ testimony. They spoke to the importance of evidence-based treatment programs grounded in the 12 Steps and supported by medically assisted treatment therapies.
Rosecrance also supports increased prevention and education programming in elementary, middle and high schools across the state, as well as aggressive training of first responders in the use of Naloxone, which has been proven to reverse the effects of an overdose if administered quickly enough.