Illinois's plan to combat the opioid epidemic

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR)-- Nick says his addiction to heroin was consuming.


"That's all I thought about during the day," explained Nick, a Rosecrance Alumni and now employee. "Before school, during school, after school, it didn't matter."

Nick isn't alone in his struggle against addiction.

"I would get up every day and I was a manager of an E.R.," explained Joanne, a Rosecrance Alumni. "I worked my 12 and 15 and 16 hours and I saved lives everyday. Nobody knew I was an alcoholic."

While Joanne's drug of choice differs from Nick's, they both came out on top in their battle. It's because of the beast they faced, they are glad to see the state of Illinois looking for ways to support those fighting against addiction.

"We need to get out there and let people know what it is," explained Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti. "It's very stigmatized and we need to get past that barrier."

Last week Governor Rauner signed an executive order creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. Lt. Governor Sanguinetti is going through the state finding out exactly what struggles communities are facing with the opioid crisis and how the task force can help, starting here.

"Well the opioid epidemic even though it knows no neighborhood, no color, no class, Rockford has been hit hard," said Lt. Governor Sanguinetti. "Really hard."

This support is something Nick and Joanne appreciate and say is a good start to fighting against a major issue.

"I think it's fantastic," said Nick.

"It's promising for me. It's promising for my son," explained Joanne. "It's promising for all the families out there that are suffering with their loved ones as well as themselves."

Joanne and Nick agree that while it's great the state and federal government are behind this battle it is up to each individual person fighting to reach out and ask for the help.

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