ROMEOVILLE – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to fight heroin use in communities across Illinois. The new law will expand the scope of a special task force created last year to study heroin use in Illinois and make recommendations to increase awareness and prevention. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to strengthen drug prevention efforts and save lives.
“Heroin is a deadly substance that destroys lives,” Governor Quinn said. “The health and safety of all residents across the state must be a priority. This legislation will help ensure we have the tools to fight heroin use across Illinois.”
House Bill 4542, sponsored by State Representative Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) and State Senator Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park), expands the age range to be studied by the Young Adult Heroin Use Task Force to students in grades six through 12. Governor Quinn signed legislation in August 2013 to create the Young Adult Heroin Use Task Force to address the growing problem of heroin use in Illinois high schools. The new law expands the study to younger students.
Ongoing research has found that heroin use not only affects high school students in Illinois, but also children as young as 11 years old. The task force is to investigate the youth heroin use epidemic and recommend further state action. The new law is effective immediately.
“This devastating drug is hurting younger and younger students,” Senator Cullerton said. “We need to accurately understand the scope of the heroin problem as we work to fix it.”
Since taking office, Governor Quinn has worked toward a drug free Illinois. He signed the Emergency Medical Services Access law in 2012, which provides immunity to a person who, in good faith, seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose. As part of the Drug Overdose Prevention Program, a life saving law took effect in 2010 to allow non-medical persons to dispense a drug overdose antidote in an emergency to prevent a drug overdose from becoming fatal.
Additionally, the Governor implemented improvements in the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) with the primary goals of improving clinical care and reducing the unnecessary use of controlled substances prescribed by physicians. This past year the PMP’s effectiveness was enhanced by joining the national network of PMPs that allows clinicians in Illinois to check their potential patients’ use of controlled substances within Illinois and 15 other states. Since the inception of the PMP in 2008, there has been a 66 percent reduction in the number of individuals who “doctor shop” in order to obtain controlled prescription medicines.