Illinois legislators OK wide-ranging plan to prevent drug overdoses

Last summer, lawmakers in the Illinois House declared a “heroin emergency” in the state. This year, the legislature overwhelmingly approved a comprehensive plan (HB 1) to deal with it. According to The State Journal-Register (Springfield), the state's new fight against drug abuse will cost between $25 million and $58 million.

The bill’s components include:

  • requiring that first-responders in Illinois have in their possession naloxone, which is used to treat drug overdoses;
  • allowing a pharmacist to dispense naloxone to prevent heroin overdoses,
  • establishing a heroin and opioid drug prevention program for schools,
  • covering rehabilitative services in Medicaid,
  • creating a statewide “take-back” program to help people safely and conveniently dispose of prescription drugs, and expanding the use of drug courts and the availability of drug treatment programs.
States across the country have been experiencing a rise in heroin overdose deaths. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of these deaths increased from 3,036 to 8,257.
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