The Latest: Chicago’s Opioid Epidemic Isn’t Abating

This year’s opioid-related fatalities in Chicago are on pace to equal those of 2021. When a record number of overdose deaths occurred in the city.

The Medical Examiner’s Office for Cook County and the Chicago Department of Public Health report. In Chicago, 632 opioid-relate deaths are report as of June. 656 opioid overdose deaths. It reports through the same period in 2021.

In Chicago, there were 1,428 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017. A record high for the city and a 10% increase from 1,302 opioid-related deaths in 2020.

According to the public health organization. There are more opioid-related deaths in Chicago in 2020 and 2021 than homicides and auto accidents combined. This was also the case in 2022, pending the release of final official data.

Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner, said at a news conference on Tuesday that the city would like to see more attention given to this particular public health issue because opioid-related overdoses are a treatable medical issue and largely preventable.

Chicago’s communities receive an EMS call related to an overdose in 2021 and 2022. Despite the fact that the West Side receives the majority of emergency calls related to opioids, the health department claims.

The health department began dispensing doses of the life-saving naloxone from wall-mounted boxes at nearby libraries to reduce overdose deaths. The packages are currently offered in 51 locations.

The department wants everyone to have naloxone, also known as Narcan, and know how to use it.

Since October 2021, the department has also given out more than 77,000 fentanyl test strips to residents and organizations all over the city. The synthetic drug fentanyl is ten times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl was a significant factor in most opioid-related deaths in Chicago this year and last.

De-stigmatizing opioid treatments and increasing funding for initiatives that assist people with mental health issues, which can contribute to the emergence of a substance use disorder, are essential ways to lessen harm, according to the health department.

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