The Southside Heroin/Opioid Task Force is comprised of community-based agencies (CBO), health care providers, and governmental agencies to address the opioid epidemic facing men, women and children on the south side of Chicago, resulting in increasing deaths. We're here to ensure that south side region of Chicago works together to help reduce opioid and heroin addiction, prevent overdose deaths, and improve the quality of life in our community.
Stakeholders of the South Side Heroin and Opioid Task Force believe that community education is paramount in helping south side communities reduce overdoses and deaths related to opioid use. In addition to community education, the South Side Task Force goals are to raise awareness of illegal drug use, increase supportive services for users, integrate mental health and substance use disorder treatment services and recovery and implement a coordinated collaborative for better outcomes.
A mid- year report released by the Chicago Department of Public Health showed that from January to June 2020 there were 573 opioid related overdose deaths, marking a 54.9 percent increase in fatal overdoses from the first 6 months of 2019. The report further showed that 59.3 percent or 340 of the 573 people who died from an opioid related death were Black. The most prevalent areas of use were the West and South side. Chicago Public Health Data also showed that fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug was involved in 82% of overdose deaths. In addition, the rate of cocaine involved overdoses deaths had increased by 47%.
Concerned with the increase in opioid- related deaths, the Chicago Department of Public Health with advisement from the West Side Heroin/Opioid Task Force helped to facilitate the formation of the South Side Heroin and Opioid Task Force, with a primary objective of reducing opioid-related overdoses and addiction in south side communities through education, training, crisis mitigation and harm reduction education. Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter was asked and agreed to take a lead role as the Task Force Convener.