Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $381,018)
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Program is the first major federal substance use disorder treatment and recovery legislation in 40 years and the most comprehensive effort to address the opioid epidemic. CARA establishes a comprehensive, coordinated, and balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based program was developed as part of the CARA legislation signed into law on July 22, 2016.
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program aims to reduce opioid abuse and the number of overdose fatalities, as well as to mitigate the impacts on crime victims. The program also supports the implementation, enhancement, and proactive use of prescription drug monitoring programs to support clinical decision making and prevent the abuse and diversion of controlled substances.
To respond effectively to the opioid epidemic, stakeholders need access to timely and accurate data that provide a comprehensive view of the drug abuse environment. Unfortunately, data on drug abuse, treatment, and public safety outcomes are often maintained in different agencies and are not integrated in a way that supports the policy and practice needs of public safety, public health, or behavioral health partners. However, there are a growing number of models at the local and state levels that leverage information from a variety of public health and public safety data sources to analyze substance abuse issues and identify potential solutions from public health, treatment, and public safety perspectives. Specifically, models such as drug monitoring initiatives, overdose fatality review teams, and New York Citys RxStat Program create an opportunity to bring together stakeholders with different perspectives and different data sets. This information can be used to drive changes in policy or practice, monitor community-level outcomes, and implement proven practices on a larger scale.
Cook County will hire an epidemiologist at the Cook County Medical Examiners Office to assist in fulfilling data requests from partner agencies and performing drug-related statistical analysis pertaining to opioid-related deaths. The partnering agencies will include the Cook County Department of Public Health, Chicago Department of Public Health, Cook County Health and Hospitals System, and the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.