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Illinois to test locking devices for painkillers

martinez courtSPRINGFIELD — Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored legislation in the Senate that will make Illinois the first state in the nation to launch a pilot program to provide locking devices on prescription vials for painkillers containing hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin or Norco.   

Today, her proposal was signed into law.

“Too many Illinoisans become addicted to these powerful medications,” Martinez said. “This legislation will help prevent individuals who haven’t obtained a written prescription from using hydrocodone, a dangerous drug when used without a doctor’s supervision.”

Physicians often prescribe painkillers such as hydrocodone for short- and long-term pain.

Under Martinez’s plan, participating pharmacies in Illinois will place numerical locking devices on pharmacy prescriptions with hydrocodone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990. Prescription painkillers cause nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses.

In Chicago, hydrocodone is the most available prescription painkiller to non-prescribed users.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will be charged with implementing the new program.               

Senator Iris Y. Martinez

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Majority Caucus Chair
20th District

Years served:
2003 - Present
 
Committee assignments: Education; Energy; Gaming; Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions (Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.