McHenry County has not been spared from the ravages of the Opioid Crisis in the United States. In 2017 alone, 62 people lost their lives due to opioid overdoses in McHenry County. The County has not been sitting idle in the face of this epidemic. Various County Offices and Boards have taken action to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of programs designed to reduce opioid abuse, and opioid overdoses have decreased by 32% from 2017 to 2018. This metric tracks the percent change in the number of opioid overdose deaths in the County with a reduction being an indicator of the success of these programs. While the County cannot control the actions of individuals, it is the County’s ultimate goal to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths to zero.
Why Is It Important?
- Opioid overdose continues to be a major public health problem in the United States. It has contributed significantly to overdose deaths among those who use or misuse illicit and prescription opioids. In fact, all U.S. overdose deaths involving opioids (i.e., unintentional, intentional, homicide, and undetermined) increased to more than 42,000 deaths in 2016. (SAMHSA, 2018).
- 42 people overdosed on opioids in McHenry County in 2018.
Relationship to the Strategic Plan Long-Term Goal
Various County Offices and Boards have taken action to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of programs designed to reduce opioid abuse. One such entity is the McHenry County Mental Health Board (MHB). The MHB, as a community mental health board organized under the Community Mental Health Act, is statutorily charged with planning, executing, and evaluating such programs as may be necessary to provide behavioral health services to the community.
The MHB executes annual contracts to provide access to prevention, treatment and recovery support services. Locally funded strategies impacting the overall numbers of Overdose deaths include Drug Take Back events and drop off locations, the A Way Out Program, the Twenty Second Circuit Adult Drug Court, various outpatient and medication assisted treatment services, access to recovery related community housing, and naloxone training and distribution amongst local law enforcement officers/first responders and community members. From December 1, 2017 to November 30, 2018, first responders in McHenry County have reported 51 naloxone (NARCAN) administrations and 44 survivals, an 86% survival rate. Each survival is a new opportunity at life.
It should be further noted that the Opioid Epidemic is costly to the County, not just in loss of life but financially as well. According to research conducted by Rebecca Lameka, a student at Stanford University, McHenry County expended at least $4,032,662.32 from January 1st, 2017 through July 1st, 2018 related to the Opioid Crisis. Reducing opioid addictions and their negative effects will, over time, result in a cost savings to many county systems.
This metric reports overdose deaths gathered by the County Coroner’s Office. The County recognizes that a reduction in overdose deaths reflects only a correlation with County program changes, and not necessarily a causation. Nevertheless, the correlation appears powerful, and this metric will be updated on an annual basis.
The Mental Health Board contracts with various agencies that provide services for persons with substance abuse issues and their families. For more information about services related to substance abuse, please visit: https://www.mchenrycountyil.gov/county-government/departments-j-z/mental-health-board/resources