A coalition of law enforcement groups renewed calls Wednesday for policymakers to allocate some of the millions of dollars headed to Illinois from opioid settlements to support early childhood programs. [Health News Illinois]
Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley, speaking on behalf of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, told reporters during a virtual press conference the best way funds can be used is for early interventions.
"The research is very clear that, whether it's in the education context or the context we're talking about here, the earlier the intervention, the better,” Hanley said.
Illinois officials earlier this summer laid out plans to spend the state’s roughly $760 million share of a nationwide opioid settlement with three drug distributors and a pharmaceutical company.
That includes the creation of an officer within the Department of Human Services to administer the funds and ensure they align with the state’s opioid overdose action plan.
Rock Island County State's Attorney Dora Villarreal said it's important to focus additional resources on programs that aid the most vulnerable residents.
"We strongly believe that more needs to be done to protect all the children affected by this epidemic," she said.
Law enforcement leaders issued a statement this spring calling for funds to be used to reduce the likelihood that children will grow up to abuse opioids and commit crimes.