Illinois Chiropractic Society’s Involvement in the State’s Opioid Epidemic

Illinois Chiropractic Society’s Involvement in the State’s Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic has been and continues to be a growing problem in Illinois and the nation. States across the country are attempting to find solutions to this epidemic. The most recent activities by the State of Illinois have included: release of the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan and State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan Implementation Report; the work of the Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council; creation of the Governor’s Opioid Task Force; and a standing order for naloxone (opioid antidote).
The Illinois Chiropractic Society has become very involved in the state’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Below you will find details of the state’s efforts and ways in which the ICS has become involved by advocating the use of chiropractic as a drug-free approach to pain management and a prevention tool against opioid overuse and overdose.

State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan

The State of Illinois established the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan. The plan focuses on three main areas: prevention, treatment and recovery, and response. The main area of interest to chiropractic is prevention.
The prevention efforts primarily focus on safe prescribing, education, and monitoring and communication. When reviewing the plan, the ICS noticed it lacked an option for patients to utilize drug-free pain management as a prevention method. Since the plan was released, we have been busy meeting with various stakeholders, including State officials and regulators, involved with the development of the plan. During those meetings, we have promoted the use of drug-free options to pain management as an important part of the solution to the opioid epidemic. A copy of the plan can be found here.

State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan Implementation Report

To accompany the Action Plan, the State released the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan Implementation Report. The report was a collaboration between the Governor’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force and the Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council. The report outlines strategies for achieving the overall goals of the Action Plan. The ICS participated in the various meetings that helped create the report and continued to promote the need for the use of drug-free options to pain management as a solution to the epidemic. A copy of the report can be found here.

Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council

The Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council is made up of a group of stakeholders whose overall goal is to prevent and reduce opioid misuse and overdoses. They have four subcommittees whose goal is to establish the steps needed to implement the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan. Stakeholders include health care providers, addiction treatment providers, state agencies, criminal justice advocates and other interested parties.
The ICS is a member of the Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council and stays up to date with the efforts of the Council. More importantly, the ICS staff was able to meet various stakeholders on the opioid issue and have discussions on drug-free pain management options for patients.

The ICS is also a member of the “Prescribing Practices Subcommittee” of the Council. While it seems counter-intuitive that the ICS would participate in a group about prescribing, this subcommittee works on the issue of physician practices in the treatment of pain. For that reason, it is a fitting forum for the ICS to speak about the evidence supporting drug-free approaches to pain management and recommending the inclusion of chiropractic.
The ICS has been participating in the subcommittee meetings and the Advisory Council meetings throughout the year. We will continue to participate in both of them.

Governor’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force

Last year, Governor Rauner created the Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force. This task force is comprised of various state agency personnel purposed with examining the opioid crisis in Illinois. The task force is also charged with focusing on ways to implement the IllinoisOpioid Action Plan. It is co-chaired by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah, M.D., J.D. The task force is working in conjunction with the Illinois Opioid Response Advisory Council. When the task force was created, Dr. Timothy Bertelsman, ICS Board President, and Dr. Brandon Steele, ICS Board Member, and ICS staff were able to meet with the Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health Don Kauerauf. Dr. Bertelsman and Dr. Steele discussed with Assistant Director Kauerauf drug-free approaches to pain management and the current opioid crisis.

The ICS understands the opioid epidemic will not be solved with one single solution; however, we know that this is an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of chiropractic to a community that may now be more open than ever to consider it. Therefore, the ICS continues to advocate for chiropractic to be included as a solution to the epidemic, and we remain actively involved in the opioid groups and discussions.  The ICS has great optimism about our profession’s potential to be a key element in prevention.

About Author

Lindsay Wagahoff, MA

Lindsay joined the ICS in 2017 as our Director of Governmental Relations. In addition to her Masters in Political Science, Lindsay has served on staff with the Office of the House Republican Leader as a legislative analyst. Also, she staffed the Human Services Committee (which handles Medicaid), as well as, the appropriations committee for Human Services. Prior to serving in this capacity, Lindsay was the Executive Director of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, and brings a full understanding of member relations. Her friendly and bright demeanor and tenacious attitude allows the Illinois Chiropractic Society to maintain positive health care relationships and advance the chiropractic profession both at the Capitol and with regulatory bodies.

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