When the Kankakee County Coroner, Bob Gessner, became alarmed at the steep increase in overdose fatalities in the county, he asked the Riverside EMSS to partner with him to develop a program to educate the community on overdose prevention. This program would not have occurred without Bob Gessner. The Illinois State’s Attorney’s office, the Kankakee County Coroner’s office, and Riverside Medical Center were the initial funding sources to get the program up and running. Kankakee County Health Department Administrator, Bonnie Schaafsma, Trauma Coordinator, Al Ponton from Riverside Medical Center, Coroner Bob Gessner, and Asst. Coroner Eric Cavender were all involved in fostering the development and progression of the program.
In 2017, the newly formed Kankakee County Opioid Task Force applied for and received the Drug Overdose Prevention Program through the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (IDHS/SUPR) with the assistance of Matt McAllister from Riverside Medical Center. This task force has evolved into a multi-county collaborative to address the opioid crisis in Kankakee, Grundy, Iroquois, and Kendall Counties.
The Overdose Education and Naloxone Education (OEND) program continues to educate our communities with the goal to:
These services are supported in-full or in-part by a contract to the Human Service Center from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery, as part of the Illinois Opioid-State Targeted Response grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (TI-080231).