Cross-State Information Sharing: Potential Protests at Pharmacies in Illinois

One of the prominent assets of the Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) program is the large network and ability for cross-state collaboration among ORS teams to swiftly share information. The New York Public Health Analyst (PHA) reached out to the Illinois PHA after receiving information about potential pharmacy protests staged in Illinois that could bring about disruption in access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) and preventative resources. Once receiving word, the IL PHA shared the news with her High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) partners. Facilitating a chain alert reaction, the HIDTA partners notified law enforcement to remain attentive to signs of these protests and the IDPH partners similarly notified the state fusion center. To spread awareness to other public health departments and stakeholders, a statewide alert was also circulated to local health departments, pharmacists, federally qualified health centers, emergency departments and hospitals. Although no protest disruptions ended up taking place, the rapid information dissemination and cross-state collaboration between PHAs allowed for the state to be adequately prepared for potential disruptions.