Melzinnia Connolly, of Norwood Park, on Feb. 6, 2024. Connolly has been diagnosed with nerve damage and was prescribed opioids. (DePaul’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence)

According to the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, both the number of opioid prescriptions written and the number of patients served dropped by almost half since 2015.

(WTTW News)

Cook County Jail provides medications for opioid use disorder to incarcerated people. Where frustration comes from advocates — and local officials — is the limitations of the Illinois Department of Corrections’ medication programming in prisons.

Chicago’s Federal Plaza is pictured during the End Overdose Now rally in downtown on Aug. 28, 2023. (Dilpreet Raju / Capitol News Illinois)

Amid five straight years of record overdose deaths in Illinois, a new state program aims to alleviate a shortage of professionals who work to prevent substance use disorders.

(WTTW News)

Ninety percent of the opioid overdose deaths involved fentanyl, according to Cook County’s Medical Examiner’s Office. 

(WTTW News)

A new state health report pinpoints racism as a public health crisis while also noting Illinois needs to improve in the areas of maternal and infant health, mental health and substance use disorders.

Jen Trejo holds a photo of her son Christopher as she is comforted outside the Supreme Court Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in Washington. Her son was 32 when he died and she said about Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, “You can’t just kill my child and just pay a fine.” (AP Photo / Stephanie Scarbrough)

The agreement hammered out with state and local governments and victims would provide billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic. The Sacklers would contribute up to $6 billion and give up ownership of the company, but retain billions more. 


The rise in opioid deaths is largely due to the increase in synthetic opioids like fentanyl, says law enforcement officials. 

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images)

The docket already includes major cases concerning the intersection between the First Amendment and social media, gun rights, racial gerrymandering and the power of the executive branch when it comes to regulation.

Narcan nasal spray in use. (Courtesy of Emergent)

Narcan, which comes as nasal spray and was initially approved for over-the-counter sale by the Food and Drug Administration in March, is expected to hit shelves at stores like Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Walmart as soon as next week. The life-saving medication is expected to retail at stores for $45.

(WTTW News)

There were 103 overdose deaths attributable to fentanyl in Cook County in 2015. That number shot up to a record 1,825 in 2022, according to statistics from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. That accounts for more than 90% of all opioid-related deaths in the county.

(WTTW News)

The synthetic opioid fentanyl remains a danger in Chicago, especially in Black and Latino communities, where the odds of a fentanyl-involved overdose have significantly increased in recent years.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, walks outside of the White House, Nov. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon, File)

The Office of National Drug Control Policy announced the designation Wednesday, the first time the office has used it since the category for fast-growing drug dangers was created in 2019.

FILE - OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt., Feb. 19, 2013. (AP Photo / Toby Talbot, File)

The proposal could overhaul the way millions of Americans get some prescriptions after three years of relying on telehealth for doctor’s appointments by computer or phone during the pandemic.

FILE - Attendees practice administering Narcan during an overdose education and Narcan training class at the Onala Recovery Center on the South Shore of Pittsburgh on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (Alexandra Wimley / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)

The potential move represents the latest government effort to increase use of a medication that has been a key tool in the battle against the U.S. overdose epidemic. The decades-old drug can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.

Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose if administered in time. (WTTW News)

The key culprit appears to be the widespread availability of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

In this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, a woman pushes a shopping cart to enter a Walmart in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Walmart on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022 become the latest major player in the drug industry to announce a plan to settle lawsuits filed by state and local governments over the toll of powerful prescription opioids sold at its pharmacies with state and local governments across the U.S. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The retail giant's announcement follows similar proposals on Nov. 2 from the two largest U.S. pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co., which each said they would pay about $5 billion.