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’s PANDAS initiative signed into law

Tom Cullerton's PANDAS initiative signed into lawSPRINGFIELD - Vital legislation to raise awareness on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) was signed into law today.

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed a measure to create an advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.

Tom Cullerton’s initiative to create new jobs signed into law

tc crowdfundSPRINGFIELD- New businesses struggling to raise money to take their companies to the next level will soon have another method to find funding.  

State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative to make Illinois more business-friendly by instituting intrastate crowdfunding exemptions was signed into law today.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. If we want to continue to grow as a state, we need to continue to give small businesses the tools to succeed,” said Cullerton. “This initiative will create a vital partnership between investors and small businesses to spur economic development in our communities.”

Crowdfunding is funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people. In exchange for funding, investors receive a small ownership interest in the enterprise.

Cullerton hopes this measure will further encourage local investment and economic development opportunities.

“We need to continue to embrace innovative and fresh business practices to promote job creation in Illinois,” said Cullerton.  “Intrastate crowdfunding gives businesses the resources to find financial support without accumulating loads of debt, while giving the average person an opportunity to invest in companies they support.”

House Bill 3429 creates an Illinois intrastate exemption, which allows Illinois residents to directly invest in Illinois small businesses online.  Currently, 15 states have already passed similar legislation, including neighboring states such as Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

House Bill 3429 was signed into law on July 29 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016

Tom Cullerton meets with area business leaders

tcullerton swd visitADDISON- Since March of 1980, SWD, Inc. has continued to make investments in Addison. The recognized leader in the metal finishing and fastener sorting fields lent their facility for a round-table discussion between state and local leaders, area manufacturers and businesses to discuss how they can work together to expand business opportunities in DuPage County.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) recognizes partnerships between businesses and government are essential to growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs.

“Constant communication between all levels of government and business is essential in generating opportunities to expand our economy and promote economic development in our communities,” said Cullerton.

Cullerton, Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) and Mayor of Addison Rich Veenstra met with representatives from a number of area business leaders including NOW Foods and Walgreens to find ways to keep Illinois competitive.

PHOTO: Dick Delawder, Chairman of SWD Inc.’s Board; Addison Mayor Rich Veenstra; State Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park); Matt Delawder, Sales Manager and Partner of SWD Inc.; Tim Delawder, Vice President of SWD Inc.; State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) and Rick Delawder, President of SWD Inc.

Sen. Tom Cullerton


23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas