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Elk Grove Village’s Opioid Strategy Showing Early Signs of Progress

Elk Grove Village Cares places first patient into an addiction recovery program; U.S. Department of Justice invites Elk Grove officials to national conference to discuss Elk Grove Village Cares

Post Date:07/16/2018 3:20 PM

Just weeks after introducing a comprehensive, community-based approach to tackle opioid and heroin addiction in Elk Grove Village, the program is gaining traction locally and nationally. 

Earlier this month Elk Grove Village Cares placed its first addict who sought help from the police into a recovery facility.   And, officials from the United States Department of Justice, citing the program’s potential to be innovative and revolutionary have invited Elk Grove Village officials to a national conference to share information about the initiative.

“I am very encouraged by the progress we’ve made in the early stages of Elk Grove Village Cares,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson.  “We’re honored to be asked by the Department of Justice to share our ideas with the criminal justice community later this month in Texas.  But, perhaps more importantly, we’ve helped one individual get into a treatment program.  I expect our success to continue as more people learn about the steps we’re taking in Elk Grove Village to address this public health crisis.”

On July 2, a woman contacted the Elk Grove Village Police Department seeking to be placed at an addiction and recovery facility. She had learned about the Village’s new approach to help addicts through social media. 

The woman told police that she had been trying to enter a program on her own but had been unsuccessful.  So, she reached out to the Elk Grove Village Police Department.  An officer met with her and arranged for her to be admitted into a treatment program at SHARE-Leyden Family Services.  

SHARE, an Elk Grove Village Cares treatment partner, is a not-for-profit alcohol, drug and gambling rehabilitation facility located in Hoffman Estates.  SHARE provides counseling, mental health, substance abuse and social support services that strengthen individuals, families and communities.

“This is an early success for Elk Grove Village Cares, but it’s far too early to call it a victory,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson.  “We understand that the road to recovery is a long one and that much hard work lies ahead for this individual, but we are proud that Elk Grove Village Cares served as the point of entry for this person to access the help she needs.  And, going forward, we will offer our ongoing support for as long as it takes.”

Elk Grove Village Cares represents a new approach by police officers that puts compassion first.  Addicts who actively seek help via the Elk Grove Village Police Department will not face arrest or prosecution.  Rather, the Department will work to place addicts into a recovery program.  And, once a person has been placed, Elk Grove Village’s Social Services will conduct ongoing follow up in the following weeks and months to make sure they have all the support and resources that they need.

“Once we place addicts in a facility, our work isn’t finished.  In fact, it’s just beginning,” said Elk Grove Village social worker Desmond Raftery.  “We’ll be there, to the extent they want us there, every step of the way to support them in their recovery and provide ongoing guidance and resources.”

Just weeks into the program, Elk Grove Village Cares is attracting national attention.  The United States Department of Justice invited Elk Grove officials to speak about Elk Grove Village Cares and its unique community collaborative approach to the criminal justice challenge of drug addiction at a national conference in Fort Worth, Texas later this month.  Elk Grove Police deputy chief Mike Gaspari will participate on behalf of the Mayor in a panel discussion about innovative approaches that communities are taking to respond to the opioid crisis at the National Forum on Criminal Justice, an annual event sponsored by the National Criminal Justice Association.

Village officials launched Elk Grove Village Cares last month.  In addition to the new approach to help addicts instead of merely arresting them, the program also includes the placement of overdose-reversing medication in public spaces and public education about the devastating impacts opioid and heroin addiction can have on people, families and communities.

“We know there’s a lot of hard work ahead to ensure that Elk Grove Village Cares delivers on its mission to save lives, support addicts seeking recovery and remove the stigma attached to opioid and heroin addiction,” said Mayor Johnson.  “But, helping someone who may not have gotten the help without our efforts is very satisfying to everyone involved in this program.”

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