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SPRINGFIELD – Opioid overdoses in Illinois alone increased 33% between 2019 and 2020 – a jarring statistic that has led members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus to champion measures to tackle the epidemic.

“The ongoing opioid crisis deserves our full attention, and expanding access to overdose prevention supplies is a critical step in our efforts to prevent overdoses and save lives,” said State Senator Paul Faraci (D-Champaign).

Faraci is sponsoring a measure to expand access to overdose prevention supplies for providers enrolled in the Illinois Department of Human Services' Substance Use Prevention and Recovery Division Drug Overdose Prevention Team. House Bill 1121 would increase access to fentanyl test strips and improve public health outcomes by preventing fatal overdose.

“All providers enrolled in the Drug Overdose Prevention Program must store testing supplies so that they are accessible only by authorized personnel, including other trained overdose responders,” said Faraci.

Fentanyl abuse is on the rise, leading State Senator Laura Ellman to sponsor House Bill 3924, which seeks to combat the risk of overdoses by requiring all high school students enrolled in a state-required health course to learn about the dangers of fentanyl and fentanyl contamination.

“I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to increase access to naloxone and protect people seeking help for someone experiencing an overdose from being arrested, but our work to address this crisis is not over,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “Educating people of all ages on the dangers of potential overdose is an effective way to save lives and combat overdoses long-term.”

To increase patron safety at concert venues State Senator Karina Villa is championing House Bill 1557. The measure would require for-profit music venues that have an occupancy of 1,000 or more to have opioid-overdose antidotes, such as naloxone, on hand and have staff members who are sufficiently trained in administrating it.

“People go to a music festival or concert to enjoy themselves — one bad decision should not cost them their life,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Whether someone consumes a harmful substance on purpose or accidentally, this bill will save lives by expanding first aid in concert halls to include treating overdose.”

The Senators will work over the weeks leading up to the May 19 adjournment to pass the measures.

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