Senator Bush 2022


SPRINGFIELD – To further reduce opioid abuse, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is leading a measure to give health departments access to necessary patient data for developing public health interventions regarding the ongoing epidemic.

“Thousands of people have been identified as high-risk for opioid addiction, but without access to that data, we are unable to offer them support or treatment programs,” Bush said. “Increasing access to this information simply allows public health professionals to help people before it is too late.”

The measure will allow authorized employees of the Illinois Department of Public Health and county and municipal health departments to access the Prescription Monitoring Program patient databases, which determines if patients may be at risk of opioid addiction. Under current legislation, this data is kept confidential unless shared with law enforcement. However, data on how many patients are at risk for opioid addiction is necessary for many local health departments to develop educational programs, analyze treatment gaps across regions, and even prepare for public health interventions.

Bush has been a longtime advocate of tackling the opioid epidemic. In 2017, she passed a law to require prescribers of controlled substances to check the Prescription Monitoring Program to see if a patient has been prescribed a controlled substance by another doctor prior to writing an initial prescription. To build upon that law, she passed a measure last year to ensure every prescriber, including e-prescribers, have access to the same database.

“Database access will make public health responses to the opioid crisis more effective and accessible to patients,” said Bush. “Expanding access to the database is another step toward ending the opioid crisis.” 

Senate Bill 3024 passed the Health Committee.