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State

Illinois offers stories of hope through substance abuse helpline

Illinois shares stories of hope and recovery for those suffering from substance use disorder

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced recently the launch of a new statewide video campaign to bring awareness to the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances.

The Illinois Helpline connects individuals struggling with opioid use or other substance use, and anyone affected by the disease, directly with treatment and recovery options.

“Our goal with this video campaign is to continue to reduce stigma by sharing stories of individuals who are in recovery and how substance use disorder can affect us all,” IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou said. “Through their eyes, we also hope you can see that those affected by substance use disorders can and do have full and rewarding lives.”

The videos feature individuals who share their stories of recovery and organizations from across the state who are providing treatment and recovery services for opioid and other substance use disorders.

The video campaign will include TV spots, transit posters, social media ads and billboard postings across major media markets in Illinois. The videos also will be posted on the IDHS YouTube page.

“We are excited to launch these new videos across the state and connect even more individuals to the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP and HelplineIL.org,” said Dani Kirby, IDHS Director of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery. “We hope these stories resonate with Illinois residents and they can see the Helpline as their first step to recovery.”

The IDHS Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery continues to implement strategies targeted at reducing the effects of substance use disorders in Illinois. Since the launch of the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances and HelplineIL.org, IDHS has received more than 16,700 calls and more than 40,000 website visits.

Meanwhile, Illinois is “showing progress” toward the IDHS three-year goal of reducing opioid deaths by one-third by 2020, an official told lawmakers recently.

That initiative was set by former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration in an action plan implemented in 2017, with a focus on prevention, treatment and community response.

Jenny Epstein, director of strategic opioid initiatives, said the number of opioid overdose deaths in Illinois decreased in 2018 for the first time in five years. There were 2,167 opioid deaths in Illinois last year, down from 2,202 in 2017.

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