DOWNERS GROVE – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, joined a group of health care professionals May 26 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove to discuss the opioid crisis in DuPage County and the impact President Donald Trump’s budget and plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have on the situation.
Fourteen billion opioid tablets are produced in the United States each year, Durbin said.
“It sounds excessive to me,” he said. “What happens to them? There have to be gatekeepers.”
Durbin said the American Health Care Act, which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives with the support of every Republican congressmen in Illinois, would allow insurers to deny coverage for substance abuse treatment and cut Medicaid funding by $40 billion in Illinois. Thousands of DuPage County residents rely on Medicaid to get treatment for substance abuse treatment.
“[Opioids] are, in fact, addictive,” Durbin said. “Now we’re dealing with an opioid crisis in this country.”
Becoming addicted to opioids is not difficult, said members of the panel that joined Durbin.
In fact, one of every 12 individuals who takes opioids for more than one week still uses them a year later, they said.
With the future of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid funding in jeopardy, funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment are in peril, Durbin said.
“It comes down to a basic question: Who’s going to pay for it,” Durbin said. “This, to me, is a major front-and-center issue.”
Durbin was joined on the panel by Jim Scarpace, executive director of the Gateway Foundation in Aurora; Matthew Cross, director of Behavioral Health Services at Good Samaritan Hospital;…