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  • Bertino-Tarrant: “It’s our duty to equip our emergency professionals with the tools to prevent drug related deaths”

    nalaxone 100417PLAINFIELD- Emergency professionals will now have easier access to the life-saving drug Naloxone to save Will County residents’ lives.

    State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is proud to announce Illinois now has a Standing Order to allow eligible organizations, mostly pharmacies and opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programs, to provide naloxone to any person without a direct prescription.

    “The opioid epidemic does not see race, color or socioeconomic status; it is a crisis affecting every community across Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Naloxone gives us a way to save lives. It’s our duty to equip emergency professionals with the tools to prevent drug related deaths.”

    Naloxone is a non-addictive prescription medication that, if used while someone is having a heroin overdose, can save the person’s life. It is more commonly referred to as Narcan. 

    With Illinois’ standing order, insurers such as Medicaid and Medicare can be billed. Eligible individuals must complete appropriate training on naloxone administration to use the program.

    In 2016, there were a record number of heroin related deaths in Will County, an increase of more than 40 percent from the previous year.  According to the Will County coroner’s office, 77 people died in Will County due to opioid overdoses last year.

    Bertino-Tarrant has been working to end the opioid epidemic in Illinois by expanding educational resources to Will County residents.

    The new law she championed this year requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and maintain a website to educate people on the effects of heroin and prescription opioid abuse. The website will include the warning signs of heroin and opioid addiction, helpful tips for parents on how to discuss the dangers of addiction with their children, available treatment options and services, and other related information.

    “We need to provide every possible resource and assistance we can as a state to address the heroin and opioid addiction problems many face throughout Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Addiction is hurting families in Will County. Educating area residents will help us alleviate and end the opioid overdose epidemic.”

    Bertino-Tarrant urges area residents with questions on how to take advantage of resources to help fight opioid addiction to call her Plainfield office at (815) 254-4211.

  • Bush statement on override of Heroin Crisis Act veto

    bush narcan cmteGRAYSLAKE — State Sen. Melinda Bush issued the following statement as members of the Illinois House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of House Bill 1, the Heroin Crisis Act, on Wednesday.

    “Citizens have demanded we address this public health crisis,” Bush said. “This comprehensive plan to reduce addiction and death must not be delayed further. I will cast my ‘Yes’ vote to override this veto and make this the law of the land, and I urge all my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.”

    Among other provisions in the proposal is a section referred to as “Lali’s Law,” which would expand access to heroin overdose antidotes at local pharmacies. The law is so named for Alex “Lali” Laliberte, whose sister Chelsea formed the anti-heroin organization Live4Lali after her brother’s death by heroin overdose in 2008.

    Live4Lali has been promoting the wider distribution and awareness of Narcan, an antidote that immediately halts the lethal chemical effects of a narcotics overdose with no adverse side effects and can be used safely with minimal training. Law enforcement officers in Lake County carry the small kits and have already reported several deaths averted by their use over the past year.

    The legislation is House Bill 1. It proceeds to the Senate, where it requires a three-fifths supermajority vote to override the governor’s veto.

  • Bush: Expanded access to overdose reversal drug will save lives

    NalaxoneSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to the release of the Illinois Naloxone Standing Order:

    “Naloxone, or Narcan, is a lifesaving drug that is able to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, which have been occurring at an alarming rate in Illinois,” Bush said. “In 2015, I championed legislation to make Narcan more accessible and affordable for law enforcement agencies. Since taking effect, Narcan has been used by officers to save lives of Illinoisans across the state. I am pleased that the governor issued an order that will make it even easier for first responders and law enforcement officers to administer Narcan and save lives.”

    Under current law, a prescription is needed to dispense naloxone. The Standing Order issued yesterday acts as a prescription and allows pharmacists, pharmacies and opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution programs like law enforcement agencies, health departments and community-based organizations to acquire and distribute naloxone.

  • Bush’s opioid legislation saves life of Springfield woman

    bush 022817SPRINGFIELD – A downstate woman's second chance at life is the latest success stemming from a 2015 state law giving police tools to literally bring overdose victims back from the dead. According to the Springfield Journal-Register, “Less than a week after being issued Narcan kits to save the life of someone overdosing on heroin or another opiate, a Springfield police officer has successfully used the drug in the field for the first time.”

    Since being elected in 2012, Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) has made fighting opioid addiction and reducing opioid-related deaths major priorities. In 2015, Senator Bush championed “Lali’s Law,” which expanded access to Narcan and made it more accessible and affordable for law enforcement agencies like the Springfield Police Department.

    “Narcan has the ability to reverse overdoses and save lives,” Bush said. “If the Springfield police officer had not had a Narcan kit, this person would have likely died of overdose. This is why it is so important to increase access to Narcan, and it’s why I fought to make it easily accessible and affordable for Illinoisans.”

    Over the past few decades, opioid addiction has become a major problem throughout the state of Illinois. As of last year, Illinoisans were dying of heroin overdoses at twice the rate they were in 1999. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2015 the opioid-related death rate in Illinois increased 120 percent.

    Senator Bush will continue fighting to reduce opioid addiction and increase access to lifesaving treatments.

    Read the full Journal-Register article here: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170224/springfield-polices-narcan-program-saves-first-life

  • Overdose awareness: Manar, Durbin discuss opioid abuse problem

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  • Tom Cullerton pushes for solution to heroin epidemic

    heroinVILLA PARK - DuPage County’s Narcan program has trained more than 2,200 police officers to administer naloxone, saving over 66 individuals from overdosing on heroin.

    As the growing heroin epidemic spreads throughout the state and nation, we are still waiting for the governor to sign State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative, House Bill 1, to spread the success with battling the drug in DuPage County to communities across Illinois.

    “We have the tools to save lives,” Cullerton said. “Every day, the governor waits, we are risking the chance another young person becomes addicted to heroin or worse yet, overdoses because they cannot afford treatment.”

    House Bill 1 is a comprehensive package designed to address heroin and opioid abuse and addiction in Illinois. The legislation addresses heroin abuse on a variety of different levels. Three major points of the initiative include the following:

    The legislation, which is modeled off of DuPage County’s efforts, creates a program for state and local police officers, fire protection personnel, firefighters and school nurses, to be trained in administering Narcan.

    Narcan reverses the effects of an overdose for heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, OxyContin and Morphine. The drug can be administered either by injection or nasal spray.

    Secondly, the initiative requires Medicaid to cover costs for addiction treatments and prescriptions. Currently, the second most common reason for Illinoisans to seek treatment is heroin, yet the state has the lowest rate of state-funded treatment compared to other Midwestern states, such as Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

    Expanding the scope of Medicaid to include some of these expenses will make treatment more readily available and bring Illinois up to speed with neighboring states.

    Thirdly, requires the Illinois Department of Human Services and State Board of Education to develop a three-year heroin and opioid drug prevention program to address the heroin stronghold in Illinois. School districts will be given the option to adopt the program and DHS will work with the school districts to reimburse the costs.

    Cullerton asserts the legislation was worked on with legislators from both sides of the aisle because everyone recognizes drug overdoses and addiction can happen to people regardless of their age, socioeconomic background or ethnicity.

    “This measure is a great example of legislators working together in a bipartisan effort to address this problem and work to save lives,” Cullerton said.  “I hope the governor will work with us and move quickly to address this growing epidemic.”

  • Tom Cullerton: we cannot rest until heroin problem is eradicated

    TCullertonVILLA PARK- Huge strides have been made in addressing the heroin epidemic in DuPage communities, the DuPage Narcan Program (DNP) achieved a tremendous milestone on Thursday with the 100th life saved since the start of the program.

    “DuPage County first responders are providing residents with an invaluable service,” State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) said. “I’m proud of the work we continue to do for area residents and look forward to spreading the program’s success throughout the state.”

    To spread the success seen with the DNP, Cullerton led the charge last year in Springfield with the passage of House Bill 1.

    DuPage County introduced the first county-wide application of Narcan in the state. The DuPage County Health Department organized an effort to equip more than 2,000 people, largely local police, with Narcan at the beginning of 2014.

    The legislation addresses heroin and opioid abuse and addiction in Illinois in a variety of different ways, by training public safety entities in administering Narcan, requiring state agencies to develop a three-year heroin and opioid drug prevention program and expanding state-funded treatment to include addiction treatment and prescription costs.

    “This program is giving people an opportunity to seek treatment and turn their lives around,” Cullerton said. “We cannot rest until this problem is eradicated from our communities. Until then we will continue to work together to end this epidemic and help people receive the necessary treatment to succeed.”

    Throughout the nation, fatal drug overdoses have increased six-fold over three decades, claiming 36,000 American lives every year.