A legislative measure intended to help curb the number of heroin-related deaths in Illinois is advancing thanks to the work of State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton).
“It is clear that heroin abuse is on the rise and with that the number of overdose-related deaths are also rising. We have a duty to take proactive steps to prevent senseless tragedies that are written about all too often,” Connelly said. “I want to thank DuPage County officials for the lead they have taken on using NARCAN in their communities. They alone saved 32 lives just in the past year. The leadership of Dr. Rich Jorgensen, State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and our local law enforcement officers is a testament to how we are combatting heroin with some positive results.”
DuPage County Coroner, Dr. Rich Jorgensen, traveled to Springfield on March 10 to testify to the Illinois Senate’s Public Health Committee about Senate Bill 73. The bill would allow school nursing personnel to administer the life-saving NARCAN antidote to prevent drug overdoses.
“The heroin epidemic has reached our schools and we must preventive measure to protect students from overdose. Once they have been afforded that second chance that NARCAN provides, then we can offer the student the rehabilitation that can hopefully help them beat their addiction,” Jorgensen said.
To date, the DuPage NARCAN effort has trained 35 departments and nearly 1,900 law enforcement officers. The program is the first county-wide application of NARCAN in the state and is a model for the nation.
SB 73 is loosely based off of Public Act 98-0795, which allows school personnel to administer “epi-pens,” which help reverse anaphylactic shock. The legislation would make school districts and authorized personnel immune from civil liabilities, if NARCAN is administered in “good faith.”
SB 73 passed the Senate Public Health Committee with a 9-0 vote and now awaits action by the full Senate.