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Bush: Lali's Law would give families Narcan prescriptions

bush-narcan-cmteSPRINGFIELD — An initiative that would expand access to emergency, life-saving medication will proceed to a vote in the Illinois Senate, State Sen. Melinda Bush announced.
 
“Heroin use among our youth is a serious problem in the suburban areas I represent,” Bush said. “Since first responders have been equipped with and trained in the use of emergency drugs like naloxone hydrochloride, they have been able to act quickly to save the lives of people overdosing on heroin. By making opioid antidotes like Narcan available by prescription at pharmacies, we would give families the same chance to save a life.”
 
Naloxone hydrochloride, sometimes sold under the brand name “Narcan,” is an opioid antagonist drug. Delivered via a nasal injection, the fast-acting drug blocks the effects of narcotics like heroin on the brain. When administered quickly enough it can counteract the effects of a narcotics overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error.

Chelsea Laliberte, a founder of Live4Lali, a drug addiction education and awareness not-for-profit, testified before the Senate Public Health Committee prior to the unanimous “Yes” vote. She and her family formed the organization after her brother died of a heroin overdose in 2008. The group has promoted awareness of and access to the drug.

“We said ‘There’s a drug out there that could have saved his life, and we didn’t know about it?’ We knew that in order to save lives, this would need to become more available,” Laliberte said prior to her appearance before the committee.

The drug is already in use by law enforcement officials, who earlier this month saved a Mundelein man who was overdosing. Police chiefs like Lake Villa Police Department’s Craig Somerville and Eric Guenther, Chief of the Mundelein Police Department, have expressed their support for wider availability of the drug.

“I’ve been on many overdose scenes personally where EMTs came in and revived a person who was as good as gone,” Somerville said of his experience seeing the drug deployed in the field. “It’s pretty much foolproof. I’ll have [a dose] in the pocket of my uniform when I come into work tomorrow.”
 
Bush said concerns about the drug’s availability in households possibly enabling narcotic use is understandable, but the potential to save lives can’t be ignored.
 
“People didn’t start driving more recklessly because cars suddenly added seatbelts,” Bush said. “Nobody goes out looking to OD.  When people do, those who discover them are often their family or friends. This could give people the ability to save a loved one in the precious minutes available.”
 
Somerville said he has heard such concerns, but believes denying the drug to families could result in completely avoidable tragedy. Those who could be saved by the drug are often found by family members, who will be able to act immediately, he said.
 
“Why would we put such a stigma on this and not make this available to a family?” Somerville said. “They’re there before we are.”

The Public Health Committee also approved separate legislation, also supported by Bush, allowing non-EMT first responders to administer Narcan and requiring police and firefighter trainees to be instructed in its use.

The proposals are Senate Bill 1466 and Senate Bill 10. They proceed to the Senate floor for a vote.

In honor of the work Ms. Laliberte, her family and Live4Lali have done to advance awareness of the heroin epidemic, Senate Bill 1466 will be named “Lali’s Law.”

Bush pushes for greater access to lifesaving medication

bush-narcanSPRINGFIELD — Seeking to expand the availability of emergency medication that has already saved lives in Lake County, State Sen. Melinda Bush took up legislation that would make opioid antagonist drugs like Narcan available at pharmacies.

“Just a few days ago, Mundelein Police saved a man’s life because they were equipped with and trained in the use of naloxone hydrochloride, a drug that counteracts the effects of a narcotic overdose,” the Grayslake Democrat said. “Heroin use, particularly among our youth, has become a serious problem in Lake County and the suburban cities I represent. By making opioid antagonist drugs like Narcan available by prescription at pharmacies, we give families access to a safe, easy-to-use drug that could save lives.”

Naloxone hydrochloride, sometimes sold under the brand name “Narcan,” is an opioid antagonist drug. Delivered via a nasal injection, the fast-acting drug blocks the effects of narcotics on the brain. When administered quickly enough, it can counteract the effects of a narcotics overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error. Bush is sponsoring the legislation, crafted by state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, as it proceeds to discussion in the Senate Public Health Committee.

Eric Guenther, Chief of the Mundelein Police Department, said mere minutes can mean the difference between life and death in the cases of narcotics overdoses that Narcan can prevent.

“This is a remarkable drug that is available, and it’s relatively simple,” Guenther said. “It’s been available to citizens in general through not-for-profit agencies for a while and it’s just becoming more mainstream and known. I think it’s good to have those families who know they need it to have it there to save a family member.”

Bush said she has heard concerns about the drug’s availability in households possibly enabling narcotic use, but, she said, the potential to save lives can’t be ignored.

“People didn’t start driving more recklessly because cars suddenly added seatbelts,” Bush said. “Nobody goes out looking to OD. This just gives a trusted person the ability to save somebody who is overdosing in the precious minutes available.”

Guenther said he understands such concerns, but that having Narcan available to those who have been screened and prescribed it could give somebody a second chance.

“My response to that is: Look, this is someone’s son, someone’s daughter. If we can give them one more chance at life and one more chance to get it right, aren’t we obligated as public safety professionals to do that?”

The legislation is Senate Bill 1466. It proceeds to the Senate Public Health Committee for debate.

Bush moves to restrict big severance packages at universities

higher-ed-pay-mrState Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is sponsoring legislation that will put hard limits on how much public colleges and universities in Illinois can pay to buy out top administrators.

The bill is meant to respond to a controversial $750,000 severance package College of DuPage awarded to President Robert Breuder. The award has drawn fire from constituents, lawmakers and the editorial boards of local newspapers.

“The frustration my constituents have shown in the wake of College of DuPage’s decision was a call to action for my office, and it should be a wake-up call to our public institutions,” Bush said. “This legislation will bring an end to a form of excess taxpayers can ill afford.”

The new legislation caps severance packages at 30 percent of an official’s annual compensation and mandates that a university or college officials’ pension not include any severance package in the final calculation of their compensation.

“Families are struggling with the ever-rising price of higher education,” Bush said. “To award nearly $1 million to an official just to quit is more than tone-deaf. It’s irresponsible.”

Senate Bill 1291 will be introduced in the Senate and considered in the newly-formed Senate Subcommittee on Executive Compensation.

Bush to join worldwide anti-violence campaign in Round Lake Beach

bush-021015State Sen. Melinda Bush will join an anti-violence advocacy group and the League of Women Voters of Lake County in Round Lake Thursday to kick off an annual worldwide campaign against violence.
 
Lake County Rising, a local chapter of the international One Billion Rising organization, focuses on fighting violence against women. Lake County Rising has staged public protests around the world each Feb. 14 since 2012 to call public attention to the problem of violence against women.
 
Sen. Bush will provide brief remarks as the event kicks off. The event will also feature remarks and a musical performance by Sheila Simon, former Lt. Governor and prosecutor of domestic violence cases.
 
Joining the Illinois Senate in 2013, Sen. Melinda Bush has made combatting violence against women one of her top priorities, helping to pass legislation toughening restrictions on human trafficking, revenge porn and sex offenders who try to flee across state lines. Since 2013, she has served on the board of A Safe Place, a domestic violence shelter in Zion.
 
DATE: Thursday, Feb. 12
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, 2007 N. Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach
NOTE: Free admission

Sen. Melinda Bush

bush 150

31st Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education; Environment and Conservation (Chairperson); Government Accountability/Pensions; Revenue; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (AP); Sub. on Tax Exemptions and Credits; Sub. on Interscholastic Athletics; Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Biography: Born March 18, 1956; former member of the Lake County Board, Forest Preserve Board and former Grayslake village trustee; married (Andy) with one adult son (Chris).

Associated Representatives:
Joyce Mason
Sam Yingling