5 graduate from drug court as the state looks to crack down on opioid use

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New efforts are underway to fight back against opioid and drug use in Illinois.

On Thursday it was announced the state would receive $15 million in federal funding to expand opioid use disorder treatment, that includes more money for the state’s prescription monitoring program.

Five people graduated from Adams County Drug Court on Thursday. Drug court requires those in it to submit to drug testing, substance abuse treatment and self-help meetings.

“I started with alcohol then I went to meth and then I broke my neck and went to painkillers and then heroin,” said Ballenger.

Drug court graduate Sidney Ballenger battled numerous addictions, but Thursday marked a new start for him.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” said Ballenger. “A lot of self love.”

Now it’s looking ahead to what’s next, as Ballenger continues on his mission of sobriety and looks to help others in his shoes.

“I think my pain was my purpose to help others,” said Ballenger.

However, with opioids still considered a crisis across the nation, Ballenger says more money from the state to enhance the prescription monitoring program may be a help for some.

“There’s just so many other means of getting them off the street,” said Ballenger.

Judge Debra Wellborn thinks more money to help track opioids would help alleviate a part of the problem, but she says the location of Quincy could bee seen as a hindrance.

“They can go across to Hannibal in a day and come back and have a doctor that has no idea that they’ve seen anyone here.” said Wellborn.

So for local doctors, Wellborn says an expansion to the prescription monitoring program will help take some of the pressure off of them.

“They’ve been asking for assistance in how to know what they’re prescribing, who they are prescribing to and are there other doctors out there,” said Wellborn.

The $15 million grant will also go to recovery homes as well as substance use treatment at jails and hospitals.

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Kaylee Pfeiferling

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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