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Bertino-Tarrant’s law to make addiction-fighting resources readily available takes effect in the new year

JBTAprilPLAINFIELD- Families across the 49th State Senate District will soon have more resources readily available to fight the opioid epidemic, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant’s new law requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and maintain a website to educate people on heroin and prescription opioid abuse. The measure, enacted through House Bill 3161, found bipartisan support as it passed the General Assembly.

“Opioid addiction does not see age, socioeconomic class, race or religion,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is vital for our families, friends and neighbors to have resources readily available to help their loved ones kick this deadly habit.”

On Jan. 1, DHS will begin work on a website that 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.

“This website will help save lives,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is absolutely critical that we work together as a state to combat this epidemic. If we can save one life, it is worth it.”

Will County saw a record number of heroin-related deaths in 2016; this was an increase of more than 40 percent from 2015. According to the Will County coroner’s office, 77 people died in Will County due to opioid overdoses in 2016.

“This new resource will help equip Will County residents with essential information to save lives,” Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of Substance Use Initiatives, Will County Executive’s Office said. “Education is a key element to end the opioid overdose epidemic in communities across Illinois. Our hope is providing parents and loved ones with the right tools will help individuals seek treatment sooner. We look forward to working with Senator Bertino-Tarrant to continue to fight this crisis and eliminate this problem from our communities once and for all.”

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Associated Representatives: Mark Batinick; Natalie A. Manley

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education (Chairperson); Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Transportation.

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.