FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4th, 2023
In March 2023, CRCC was awarded a two-year grant from the FORE (Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts) to Support Community-Driven Responses to Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose Mortality.
For this project, CRCC’s goal is to enhance funding, data collection activities, and our mission’s reach to reduce barriers to OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery for our African American, Hispanic and Latino community members in Chicago who are at greatest risk of developing OUD and dying from overdoses.
Additionally, CRCC will launch an anti-stigma and OUD education campaign featuring African Americans, Latinos and Hispanics in Chicago to address the public misperception about the OUD epidemic. Educating the public about the causes of OUD—as well as spreading the message that OUD/SUD is a chronic disease, that the overdose crisis and OUD/SUD are health issues, that treatment works, and that recovery is possible—can help decrease this stigma. We will also educate about access to evidence-based and non-stigmatizing information and resources to encourage people with OUD/SUD to seek help, as well as empower families and friends to connect loved ones to services.
According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, the prevalence of opioid overdose in Chicago and Cook County has spiked over the last few years. From January 2018 to December 2020, there were 4,283 opioid-related deaths in Cook County with nearly 82 percent of those deaths from June 6 through December 23, 2020 showing the presence of fentanyl in their systems. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office recorded a total of 1840 opioid-related deaths in 2020. According to the State of Illinois Overdose 2022 Action 2022 Plan, ‘there has been, and continues to be, significant racial and social disparities in the overdose crisis. Certain communities in Illinois—primarily racial and ethnic minority communities—have been disproportionately impacted by the overdose crisis and face greater difficulties than White communities accessing OUD/SUD treatment and recovery support services.
Given the recent increase in OUD and opioid-related overdose deaths for African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos in Chicago, delivering a targeted public OUD anti-stigma and education campaign is essential in reducing barriers to OUD prevention, treatment and recovery for high risk individuals. By working with our community partners and fostering new collaborations to help promote and disseminate campaign materials, we can create a stronger network of supporters, which will enhance our working relationships and ability to collaborate on this issue in a greater capacity.We will ensure that this campaign reaches and is relevant to those who have been hardest hit by the overdose crisis in the Chicagoland area. Our messaging will include a broad, coordinated campaign conducted on the benefits and availability of MAR via targeted messaging in racial and ethnic minority communities, and rural communities that includes anti-stigma messaging for providers.