Illinois launches statewide opioid crisis line - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois launches statewide opioid crisis line

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Adams County Paramedic Derek Wells prepares to get into an ambulance. Adams County Paramedic Derek Wells prepares to get into an ambulance.
A pharmacy worker prepares to fill an opioid prescription. A pharmacy worker prepares to fill an opioid prescription.
A poster shows off the new opioid crisis line number. A poster shows off the new opioid crisis line number.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Paramedics with the Adams County Ambulance Service say not long ago they'd get an opioid related call once in awhile. However in recent years, those calls steadily increased.

A member of the Adams County Ambulance Service for seven years, Derek Wells says each opioid related call is different.

"A lot of social issues, family tragedies, things like that," Well said. "It's not just one patient that goes through an issue. It's their entire family."

Wells knows friends who've struggled with addiction, he says it hits home when the calls come in.

"Sometimes, unfortunately, families go through the death of somebody," Wells added.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and members of a state task force on the issue announced Tuesday a 24/7 helpline. Rauner says the goal is to combat further drug overdoses.

"It is a tragedy," Rauner said. "It's taking lives and destroying families. We've got to do everything we can to end this scourge and keep the people of Illinois safe."

Those who call the hotline will talk with specialists who can connect them with treatment and recovery-support services. A former addict spoke at the announcement in Springfield sharing his story and urging communities to act.

"This problem isn't going away on its own and our children's lives are at risk," Luke Tomsha said. "Please don't take this problem lightly."

Wells hopes this hotline can spark those with addiction to get help.

"Seek it out. Find it. Do whatever you can to find it. Don't let it stop you from living your life."

The number for the hotline 1-833-2-FIND-HELP (1-833-234-6343). The Illinois Department of Public Health reports nearly 2,000 Illinoisans died of opioid  overdoses last year. You can find details about the opioid epidemic by visiting the IDPH's website here.
 

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