Sen. Melinda Bush

SPRINGFIELD – People who are prescribed opioid drugs would be educated on the addictive – and sometimes deadly – consequences of the medication by a pharmacist under a measure spearheaded by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

“Opioid overdoses have been occurring at alarming rates in Illinois,” Bush said. “Opioid education will save lives.”

The measure would require pharmacists to inform the patient that opioids are addictive and offer to give the patient naloxone – a common opioid reversal medication. Further, under the legislation, if a patient is discharged from the hospital after overdose of a controlled substance, they would be provided with naloxone. 

More than 2,000 people in Illinois lost their lives to opioids in 2019 alone, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Furthermore, Cook County has recently seen more than double the number of overdose deaths – potentially caused by isolation and lack of support during the pandemic.

Since first entering the General Assembly, Bush has been a steadfast advocate on fighting the ongoing opioid crisis. In 2015, she championed legislation to make naloxone more accessible and affordable to law enforcement agencies. Senate Bill 2535 is another step toward saving lives from the deadly effects of opioids.

“The opioid epidemic is a serious and complicated issue that only continues to get worse,” Bush said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the opioid crisis, especially amongst vulnerable populations. We must tackle this crisis head on.”

The measure passed the Senate Wednesday and heads to the House for further consideration.