The Majority Report 04/05/15 - Protecting and saving lives


Desperation turned to hope (VIDEO)

Desperation turned to hope (VIDEO)Dozens of children from extreme low-income families may lose the services and care they get from The Children's Place Association due to cuts proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner for next year's budget. This facility provides early childhood education, nursing, mental health and other care to families where a child, parent or both are struggling with health issues such as HIV/AIDS, autism, among others. This week, members of the Illinois Senate visited the center and voiced their support to avoid cuts that could leave dozens of low-income families without care.

"I have worked with this center for many years, and witnessed families' desperation turned into hope thanks to the support of this institution," said Sen. Iris Y. Martinez. "I challenge Governor Rauner to visit this place and see for himself that the budget means more than coldhearted numbers."

Children challenged by illness, poverty (VIDEO) >


Bennett brings comfort canines to courtrooms

Sitting on a powder kegTwo emerging drug products are joining the long list of substances threatening public health, particularly that of young people: powdered caffeine and powdered alcohol. Two senators are working to ban the sale of both.

Overdoses of caffeine powder have already been documented in the U.S. An 18-year-old student athlete in Ohio, one week away from graduating high school, died after ingesting toxic amounts of caffeine. A 24-year-old man in Georgia fell into a coma and then died after using powdered caffeine. Medical professionals agree consuming large amounts of caffeine is dangerous, and the concentrated form in a powder magnifies the danger (one teaspoon can equal 25 cups of coffee).

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) filed legislation to make the substance illegal for minors in Illinois. Her legislation, Senate Bill 9, was approved by the Senate Criminal Law Committee.

The other dangerous new powder is called Palcohol -- powdered alcohol -- and Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) wants it banned in Illinois. The powder may be dissolved in a beverage; it is easily concealed and added to soda, juice or food. It is anticipated to be equally appealing to young people for its potential to be snorted as well as consumed by mouth. Given the already known health risks of liquid alcohol, deaths related to Palcohol overdose are likely.

Silverstein's Senate Bill 67 has been approved by the Senate Public Health Committee. Both of these measures now await action by the full Senate.

Banning powdered caffeine >

Banning powdered alcohol >


A drug to combat heroin overdoses

A drug to combat heroin overdosesAn initiative that would expand access to emergency, life-saving medication will proceed to a vote in the Illinois Senate via Sen. Melinda Bush's (D-Grayslake) Senate Bills 10 and 1466.

"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."

Life-saving Narcan >



Copyright 2015 - Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus - All Rights Reserved