Sen. Robert Peters

SPRINGFIELD – A measure to help medical professionals get more tests into the hands of individuals who battle opioid addiction cleared an important hurdle thanks to State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“This measure will help get more tests into the hands of more patients and it will save lives,” Peters said. “We still have a long way to go, but removing these penalties is a responsible way to address the opioid crisis and to create real public safety for all instead of continuing the misguided policies of the past.”

House Bill 4556 is designed to expand on a 2019 law, “the Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction Act,” which authorized government agencies and non-governmental organizations to create needle and hypodermic syringe exchange programs. This measure would increase the number of persons and professions in the medical community who would not be penalized for possessing a limited residual amount of a controlled substance as part of the drug testing process.

Additionally, the supplies would be required to be stored at a medical office with limited access and would be available to designated workers such as an advanced practice registered nurse or physician assistant.

“We need to ensure that all communities in our state are protected and that they know what is going into their body,” Peters said, “This measure will make sure that people will not be left to the wolves of the fentanyl overdose crisis.”

The measure passed the Senate Criminal Law committee Tuesday.