The opioid epidemic is a massive crisis in Illinois. Over 2,000 individuals lost their lives to overdosing and complications related to addiction to opiates in 2017.
Each one of these victims of addiction leave behind family and friends who miss them dearly, a feeling that my own family understands all too well. A year ago, my brother-in-law took his own life in my home after a lifelong battle with addiction and depression. The pain of losing a close loved one forced my family to face and discuss some very serious issues like addiction, depression, and suicide.
While I reflect on the memory of my brother-in-law and lives of so many others that have been lost to this disease, I can’t help but think about what could have been done to prevent these tragedies.
This campaign for Senate has given me the opportunity to meet with grieving families, health care experts, and community leaders to gain a broader perspective. I've learned that our community has some fantastic resources for families struggling with addiction and mental illness. I’ve also learned that our legislators in Springfield have been derelict in their duty to prioritize this issue.
That is why I am committed to giving a strong voice to our community leaders who need more allies in our state government. As your state senator, I will do the hard-work work of building consensus to develop and execute meaningful and measurable solutions to combat this horrible epidemic.
For me, this fight is personal.
Please don't delay in seeking help if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction. This is not something you should try and solve on your own. I am eager to refer you to some local organizations, including Live4Lali, who can help you.