Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner visited Bloomington-Normal on Tuesday with no pitch regarding his election campaign, just five weeks away from midterms.
Instead, Rauner was talking about a new local effort to combat Illinois’ opioid epidemic: the addition of a disposal kiosk at a Bloomington Walgreens.
“These kiosks can help save lives. In so many communities, young people or those who may be either mistakenly or intentionally trying to get access to addictive drugs will go into medicine cabinets and take those,” Rauner said. “We need to make sure that only medications that are available at all are safe medications. Anything that is addictive or dangerous at all needs to be secured.”
He called the opioid epidemic “devastating,” taking the lives of 11,000 Illinoisans in the last 10 years.
“Unused opioid prescriptions can stay in medicine cabinets for months or years and still be very dangerous and then end up in the wrong place,” Rauner said. “These disposal kiosks can help increase safety.”
Rauner said ending the epidemic is a nonpartisan issue that requires a “public-private partnership.”
Illinois received $2 billion from the federal government to increase mental health service programs for Medicaid patients, which Rauner said will allow mental health conditions to be detected early before leading to a possible opioid addiction.
Bloomington's kiosk is one of more than 80 across Illinois. The kiosks are provided from a partnership between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Pfizer, and Prime Theraputics.
The kiosk at Walgreens on the corner of G.E. Road and Veterans Parkway is free and easily accessible during store hours. All deposited opioids are disposed by a third party vendor.
The governor was only open to on-topic questions during his visit.
He faces Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker, Conservative party member Sam McCann, and Libertarian candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson on Nov. 6.
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