opioid 911 082321SPRINGFIELD – People seeking help for an individual experiencing an opioid overdose will no longer fear arrest under Alex’s Law, a new statute sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that was signed into law on Friday.

“Fear of criminal charges should never result in someone not receiving the medical assistance they need,” Ellman said. “Saving lives has to be our first priority.”

The idea for the measure came from the death of a 25-year-old Naperville resident, Alex Green, who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2018. Alex had been with others at the time of his overdose, but none of the others on the scene called 911 for assistance. This meant the officers who arrived on scene were not able to identify what had happened until it was too late, despite having Narcan (a medicine used to treat opioid overdoses) with them at the time.

“Had an unknown person who was on hand accompanied Alex into a public business and alerted staff that his friend was overdosing, proper 911 calls may have been made,” said Bill Green, Alex’s father and the original proponent of the legislation. “Friends, strangers and passersby need to know that it’s always safe to help someone in distress, so they may see those they love at least one more day.”

Ellman, Green, House sponsor Rep. Janet Yang Rohr and other proponents hope that Alex’s Law will lead to more people contacting 911 when others around them suffer an opioid overdose, potentially saving lives.

"With the passing of Alex’s Law, we’re making sure that the tragedy affecting one of our community’s own doesn’t have to happen to anyone else,” Rep. Yang Rohr said. “I’m grateful to have been trusted by the Green family to help them honor Alex’s memory, ensuring that those facing addiction problems can get the help they need."

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.