Illinois House Passes Measure To Battle Heroin Abuse

May 27, 2015
In a June 5, 2012 photo, a heroin pouch lays next to a sidewalk on Chicago's Homan Avenue.

In a June 5, 2012 photo, a heroin pouch lays next to a sidewalk on Chicago's Homan Avenue.

(AP Photo/Robert Ray, File)

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a plan Wednesday that seeks to curb the abuse of heroin and painkilling drugs.  It would require drugs combatting heroin overdoses to be dispensed more widely to those who have been trained to properly administer them.

It's touted as a comprehensive package - though it was scaled back from its original version.  As painkillers are often seen as a gateway to heroin, the measure says doctors have to record the medical need when they prescribe narcotics for months at time. It enhances an electronic database that's used to make sure patients aren't doctor-shopping and stockpiling pills.

The proposal also would ask state agencies to administrator a statewide used prescription medication take back program with local agencies and departments.

"It deals with the issue of disposing of old pharmaceuticals that people aren’t using, so that they can’t get back into them or their families can’t reach into their medicine chests," said sponsor Lou Lang (D-Skokie.) "(It) creates a plan for drug education in our schools and not just simply the old ‘just say no’ approach.”

The legislation also requires police and firefighters to have a heroin antidote available.

Despite Republicans' concerns about costs, no one voted against it.

Story source: AP