State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) announced her recent appointment to the advisory board created to recommend how to effectively distribute millions in settlement funds to target the opioid epidemic in Illinois.Earlier this year, the three largest pharmaceutical distribution companies and Johnson & Johnson reached a national settlement based on state opioid lawsuits. Illinois will receive $760 million in settlement money.
“Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly given the social and economic upheaval over the last two years, opioid deaths are on the rise nationally and in Illinois,” Rep. Mazzochi said. Opioid deaths in Illinois reached a new high of 3,013 in 2021, a 2.3% increase from 2020 and a 35.8% increase from 2019. “Thankfully we saw 10 fewer deaths in DuPage county in 2021 when compared to 2020, reflecting the hard work done by local officials and first responders.” Over 200 overdoses were reversed through the DuPage Narcan Program in 2021.
In addition to the $760 million upfront settlement for the state, DuPage County will receive $ 10 million dollars.
“Transparency in the process and identifying the most effective use of these funds are tantamount to ensure justice for past victims and their families as well as doing whatever we can to prevent more victims,” Rep. Mazzochi said.
Rep. Mazzochi was selected by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin as the single representative on the board for the House Republican Caucus. Rep. Mazzochi was chosen based on her background in science, her career in the private sector as a lawyer working to bring more affordable drugs to the market, and the particular harm the growing opioid crisis has caused to families in DuPage. In February 2021, she hosted state and local experts in an online discussion educating the community on substance abuse, including its prevention and treatment. Video from that webinar is available on her website, RepMazzochi.com.
If you are, or know someone who is, struggling with an addiction you can call the DuPage County Health Department Crisis Line at 630-627-1700, which is available 24/7.