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Elk Grove Cares Program ExpandedFree Access

Adolescent Treatment Available, Free Narcan Vending Machine At Police Station; Krishnamoorthi Secures $500K Federal Grant For Treatment

Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson (right) announces an expansion of the Elk Grove Village Cares program as a staffer for U.S. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th) holds an oversized $500,000 check for the Elk Grove Village Cares program from the congressman. Looking on (from left): village trustees Chris Prochno, Tammy Miller, Krishnamoorthi, Daryl Pass, Kenneth Young Center manager of recovery support services; village trustees Kathryn Jarosch and Steve Schmidt, on stage at the Elk Grove Village Cares fifth anniversary celebration. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)

Elk Grove Village held a concert event marking the five-year anniversary of the Elk Grove Village Cares addiction treatment program Sunday, where village officials announced an expansion of the program and were presented with an oversized check for a half-million dollars in federal funding.

At a press conference at the event, Mayor Craig Johnson said the program will be expanded to serve youth suffering from addiction between the ages of 12 and 17. Johnson and Daryl Pass of the Kenneth Young Center also unveiled a vending machine in village hall near the police department, dispensing free Narcan kits. The kits can stop an opioid overdose.   

Outside the press conference at village hall, a car show with 70 cars was held in the library parking lot as Elk Grove crooner Tony Ocean played on stage. Later, the Grass Roots played the main stage before a crowd estimated at about 5,000. The village-sponsored Makers Wanted RFK Racing car, which will take part in the NASCAR Chicago Street Race next month, drew onlookers at the event, drowning out the music as its engine was revved. Kids took to a small course in front of the library in mini motorized RFK Racing cars.   

Before the Grass Roots, Johnson, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Pass along with village trustees, announced new elements of the program. Krishnamoorthi presented Johnson with an oversized $500,000 check to be used for patient treatment. 

The Elk Grove Village Cares program, launched in June 2018, has helped 173 people on the road to addiction recovery. The program has taken in $2.5 million in state and federal grants and has cost the village about $300,000, primarily in program promotional costs over those five years.  

Johnson told the crowd that many crimes, like stealing catalytic converters, are perpetrated by addicts looking for quick cash for their next fix. He said, “This is not something we’re going to arrest our way out of,” saying getting those individuals treatment would reduce crime.   

Johnson and a Journal reporter met Mike Donatelli beside the stage after Johnson announced the program’s expansion. 

Mike Donatelli (far right), who went through the Elk Grove Village Cares program, with (from left) Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson and his parents, Arlene and Donatelli at the Elk Grove Village Cares fifth anniversary concert event Sunday. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)

“I’ve been fighting this disease (addiction) for over a decade, and I’ve been in recovery for seven months,” Donatelli, who lives in Elk Grove Village, said. “I tried eight or nine times before, and this (Elk Grove Village Cares) is the only one that worked.” 

Donatelli was with his parents, Arlene and Joe, at the concert. The three shared a tearful moment and a hug with Johnson before the end of the concert when Johnson brought Donatelli on stage with him to share his story. 

On the expansion of the program to adolescents, Johnson said, “We all know that the disease of addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age. That’s why we are expanding Elk Grove Village Cares to include young people. Thanks to the partnerships we’ve established with Rosecrance and the Kenneth Young Center, we now have the capacity to offer assistance to get anyone (12 or older) the help they need at no charge to them.”

“Under new program guidelines, adolescents seeking substance abuse treatment via Elk Grove Village Cares must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian when they enter the program,” village officials said in a written statement. “If an unaccompanied adolescent arrives at the Elk Grove Village Police Department seeking treatment, that individual’s parents or legal guardians will be contacted before further action is taken. In order for an adolescent to enter the program, a parent or legal guardian must authorize his/her participation.”

Adults seeking treatment may only find an Elk Grove Village police officer and tell them they are seeking treatment. That officer will then stay with that person, regardless of the hour, until they can be personally brought to a treatment facility by that officer. If the patient has insurance, that policy would be billed, if not the village pays the cost of treatment through state and federal grants it received.   

“If an individual seeking treatment is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or in possession of illegal substances, the village (police) will not make an arrest. Instead, the village will work to identify a treatment facility and assist in the first steps to recovery,” village officials said. 

The village has contracts with the Gateway Foundation, Share, and the Elk Grove Village-based Kenneth Young Center to provide adult addiction treatment services. The expanded program will allow the treatment of adolescence by Rosecrance, one of the few organizations offering in-patient treatment for adolescents at their treatment center in Rockford and outpatient services at centers in Northbrook and Warrenville, and at Kenneth Young for adolescents outpatient services. 

Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson (left), Daryl Pass, Kenneth Young Center manager of recovery support services (center), and U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (right) discuss a newly unveiled Narcan vending machine in village hall, which will remain stocked and maintained by Kenneth Young Center staff, at a Sunday, June 4 press conference during the Elk Grove Village Cares fifth anniversary celebration. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)

Pass said he has been working on the Narcan vending machine project for about two years. Narcan is a simple-to-administer drug, which stops an overdose and the effects of opioids on the body. Johnson said the vending machine, installed across from the police desk at the police station in the village municipal complex, was put there so people could retrieve the drug without being embarrassed or having to answer questions, but with trained personnel posted there 24 hours a day.     

Johnson said one of the times people will be most receptive to help is after they have been saved by Narcan. He said they will be upset with being pulled from their high at first, but then likely open to treatment. 

Johnson said Narcan is widely available within the village and said the village is looking for more locations to install the machines after seeing how the program rolls out at the police station.

Pass said he is working to see the Narcan vending machines installed in Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Schaumburg, and Hoffman Estates within the next two months. Des Plaines Mayor Andrew Goczkowski confirmed a Narcan vending machine is coming to Des Plaines.

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