DuPage County Leads Fight Against Heroin Abuse

The Controlled Substance Act classifies heroin as a Schedule I controlled substance. Possessing any amount of heroin is a Class 4 Felony, as it has no medical usage and is extremely addictive. In spite of this, heroin abuse among young people is on the rise in many munipalities and counties.  In recent years, there has been increase in the number of heroin overdoses in DuPage County, especially among young people and teenagers.  To combat this growing problem, many DuPage leaders — most notably former state Rep. Dennis Reboletti and DuPage County Coroner Rich Jorgensen — have been actively parcipating in the fight against heroin by offering educational seminars for local residents.

Taking things a step further, Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, has proposed a package of legislation that would, if passed, give municipalities the tools they need to fight heroin abuse, addiction, and illegal distribution.  According to Erin Hegarty [ehegarty@dailyherald.com] of the Daily Herald, “Lang’s comprehensive plan focuses on reducing heroin abuse in part by giving addicts more opportunities to reclaim their lives through drug courts and Narcan.”

Rep. Lang’s proposal, which has been garnering a large amount of bipartisan support, has successfully moved out of the Illinois House with unanimous vote of 114-0, and will soon move on to the Illinois Senate.  However, the Senate needs to act quickly in order for it to reach Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk before Sunday’s adjournment of the law making body.  If approved, Lang says the legislation would enable drug courts to “move away from the criminal model for drug addicts to a rehab model”.

Lang’s plan also calls for widespread availibility of the drug Narcan, which is used by first responders to stabilize victims of heroin overdose.  “The bill requires that every first responder has Narcan available,” Lang said. “Every police department, fire department, ambulance company has to have Narcan available.”


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