West Side Heroin Task Force’s Leader Rep. Ford (8th) to ignite the
effort on the 50th Anniversary of King’s assignation
CHICAGO, IL – April 2, 2018 – Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will join the West Side Heroin
Task Force’s (WSHTF) Leader
Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (8th), and The Loretto Hospital’s President and CEO George N. Miller,
Jr., for a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, April 4 at 8 a.m. to commemorate
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the 50th Anniversary of his assassination,
and to fight for freedom from the heroin epidemic plaguing the West Side
of Chicago. The event will be held at The Loretto Hospital, 645 S. Central
Ave. in its 6th floor auditorium, and will include the narrative and collaboration
of City of Chicago, State, and local health and human services department heads.
The increasingly easy availability and lower street cost of heroin has
led to an increase of heroin abuse and overdose not only in Chicago but
in many parts of the country. But for years now, Chicago's West Side,
just off what's known as the "heroin highway" — the
I-290 Eisenhower Expressway, has been most affected as indicated in “Hidden
in Plain Sight: Heroin’s Impact on Chicago’s West Side”,
supporting research conducted by Roosevelt University, which examines
heroin’s impact on Chicago’s West Side. According to the study,
the Chicago West Side continues to lead in higher rates of overdose-related
deaths and street violence in the state due to the accessibility of these
"The availability of heroin is rising across the country, and the
West Side has borne the brunt of the crisis regarding addiction and overdose
deaths. Much can be done to treat those suffering from heroin use disorders
and to reverse overdose so that they aren't fatal," Ford said.
In addition to leading the WSHTF, Ford co-sponsored The Heroin Crisis Act
(House Bill 1), which became law in Sept. 2015, and includes health care
coverage of addiction, enforcement of parity regulations, and coverage
of the important life-saving drug naloxone under Medicaid.
To bring greater traction to these efforts, Ford is seeking the support
of Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, and a host of State, the
City of Chicago, and local human services departments. Among invited guests
and confirmed speakers include: Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., Director of
the Department of Public Health; Beverly “BJ” Walker, Director
of the DCFS; James T. Dimas, Secretary of the Department of Health and
Human Services; Maria Bruni, Ph. D. Asst. Secretary of the Department
of Health and Human Services; Felicia F.
Norwood, Director of HFS; and other individuals from the City of Chicago,
County officials, and local health and social services providers.
A partnership between Rep. Ford, The Loretto Hospital, Roosevelt University,
health care organizations, drug policy experts, drug crisis advocates,
physicians, including former users, WSHTF was formed to determine the
best strategies to reduce the health and criminal justice consequences
of heroin use on Chicago’s West Side. The task force’s mission
is to ensure that evidence-based care and health-centered services are
delivered throughout West Side communities.
“As one of the lead health care organizations in WSHTF, The Loretto
Hospital has to be a part of the solution to the heroin crisis on the
Greater West Side of Chicago. That’s why we are here. We sit right
off of I-290. We will continue to work very closely with Rep. Ford and
all the partnering WSHTF organizations to advocate on behalf of the communities
we serve,” The Loretto Hospital CEO George N. Miller said.
For more information about this event, please contact Angela K. Waller,
Community Relations Manager at The Loretto Hospital, at 773-854-5275 or
via e-mail at
About The Loretto Hospital
The Loretto Hospital is an acute care community hospital that serves over 33,000
patients each year from Chicago's Austin and surrounding communities.
As a not-for-profit, community-focused health care provider, we offer
a unique, patient-centered healthcare delivery system that promotes general
wellness and education in the communities we serve. Loretto is the only
hospital in the Austin community and is the largest non-government employer
in the Austin community. Through our partnerships with physicians, research
institutions, area residents and local businesses, we strive daily to
be your health care provider of choice. For more information, please visit