CDPH is also responsible, in part, for addressing drug use in the area. That’s done through research, advocacy, and outreach. The department also offers treatment programs for qualified people. But some critics say more could be done to keep Chicago safe from drug abuse.
City governments are packed tight with departments, and each has a specific function. Every city across the country has a department of public health, but Chicago’s is one of the oldest. And it has changed along with the city’s needs.
All public health departments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, work hard to:
CDPH has always tried to meet these goals. But the target of the work, officials say, has shifted with time:
Within the last decade, CDPH has changed again. Rather than offering care within facilities owned by the government, teams reached out to community clinics. They could reach more patients without buying more buildings and adding staff.
That led to significant staff changes, officials admit. But it could mean more people got the help they needed.
Chicago is a large and diverse city, and not surprisingly, its departments are also massive. The Chicago Department of Public Health breaks down its work into several smaller task forces. That allows the team to offer help while maintaining quality control.
CDPH services and programs include:
Drug abuse extends beyond one person or one family. Making a drug like meth can contaminate an entire community. Similarly, someone driving under the influence of drugs could harm people, property, or both.
That makes addiction a public health issue. And CDPH is working on solutions.
CDPH helps families facing addiction by:
Despite this care, Chicago remains an addiction hotspot. In an analysis performed by the Washington Post, reporters discovered that 2 billion pain pills entered Illinois between 2006 and 2012. Some people had prescriptions and used their drugs properly. Others did not.
Opioid overdose rates in Chicago continue to climb. In 2016, researchers say, 1,946 people died due to opioid overdose in the city limits. In 2017, 2,202 people died. The majority of deaths were in low-income neighborhoods. Those spaces should, in theory, be eligible for CDPH help. And yet, deaths continue to rise.
Substance use issues can be addressed with help from CDPH. But residents will need to do a bit of homework to find out how to connect with that help.
If you use drugs and you’re not in a mental health crisis situation, you can get help through CDPH Mental Health Centers. There are six of them available:
Staff at these centers can assess your mental health and devise a program just for you. All of these facilities are open five days per week during traditional working hours, so you won’t stay overnight. But if the team determines that you need a higher level of care, you can get referred to hospital programs.