New IL bill takes aim at stopping heroin and painkiller abuse - – Rockford’s News Leader

New IL bill takes aim at stopping heroin and painkiller abuse


A new bill in Springfield takes aim at what some leaders call an epidemic in the Rockford area, drug use. The legislation specifically looks at ways to stop heroin and painkillers.

This bill is all about more, more education, more prescription turn in programs and wider availability of overdose reversal medications. What's not in the bill is how to pay for it all.

"Right now we are averaging one death every three days in Winnebago and Boone Counties," says Dave Gomel, Rosecrance, senior vice president, chief operating officer.

That's from heroin overdoses. Rosecrance is a substance abuse treatment center. It has seen a growing number of heroin and prescription painkiller abusers. Doctors say the two are very similar.

"It's the same physiology, prescription drug and heroin. Heroin is just a more intense high," says Gomel.

Which is why they're listed together in a new bill introduced Monday.

"If we are going to look at trying to solve the problem than we need to look at all of the solutions and I believe a lot of the solutions are in this bill," says State Rep. John Cabello.

The 240-page bill has a list of items including increasing the availability of Narcan, which can stop a heroin overdose. The bill also mandates schools to start an education programs, insurance companies to extended a patients time in rehab and for hospitals and pharmacies to have more prescription drug take back programs. Which could cost roughly $20 million.

"Some in law enforcement won't like it, some in the education community won't appreciate it. Many in the insurance industry will have a problem with it. Doctors, hospital will have a problem with parts of the bill," says State Rep. Lou Lang, House Democratic Assistant Majority Leader.

"It's obviously a big bill. It has a lot of pieces to it. Definitely something that offers a good starting framework but there will be a lot of changes as we move through the legislative process," says State Rep. Joe Sosnowski.

Funding for this bill is a big question mark as the governor and legislators hash out the final state budget in the months ahead.

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