Despite increased investment and attention from public officials, the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on communities across the country. In 2017 alone, Chicagoland experienced over 2,000 opioid-related fatalities and nearly 13,400 non-fatal overdoses.
Most citizens now have only one degree of separation from someone who has personally been impacted by opioid addiction or, tragically, an overdose. Aside from the terrible physical and emotional pain inflicted on victims and their families, the societal impacts of this epidemic on our communities are quite substantial. The epidemic has placed enormous financial burdens on public health, law enforcement and judicial systems. However, one societal impact that is frequently forgotten but could yield the most significant long-term consequences to our nation is the impact of opioid addiction on the