WASHINGTON —The American Medical Association (AMA) presented Village of Mundelein, IL Chief of Police, Eric Guenther with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service. Chief Guenther was selected for the AMA’s top government service award for his nationally recognized work to shape a productive, treatment-based response to the opioid abuse epidemic.

Chief Guenther spearheaded the award-winning “A Way Out” program, Lake County’s response to the opioid abuse crisis, which allows law enforcement to place people with opioid use disorder into substance abuse treatment programs as an alternative to arrest and prosecution through the criminal justice system. “A Way Out,” which has the participation of several police departments throughout Lake County, has created partnerships with every treatment center in the county, and has changed the relationship between law enforcement and drug users, making departments themselves a starting point in the recovery process.

The program realized success immediately when the first patient entered a participating police station just one day after the program was announced in June 2016.

“When confronted with an opioid epidemic that has overwhelmed police departments and first responders across the country, Chief Guenther found an innovative solution that is working for his community and giving people with substance use disorder a chance at recovery,” said AMA Board Chair Jack Resneck, Jr., M.D.  “‘A Way Out’ is also attacking the stigma of opioid use disorder, and eliminating the fear of arrest for a person who is otherwise ready to seek help.”

 Chief Guenther was one of eight honorees chosen this year to receive the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service. The award, named for the founding father of the AMA, recognizes elected and career officials in federal, state or municipal service whose outstanding contributions have promoted the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

The AMA presented Chief Guenther with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award last night at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. as part of the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference.

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