Moylan Votes to Override Governor’s Veto of Heroin Crisis Act

“The governor’s amendatory veto was shortsighted and not in the best interest of taxpayers or the state’s overall public health,” Moylan said. “It is vital that treatment is provided to people in need so they can recover and once again become contributing members of our communities.”

On August 24, the governor vetoed the portion of the Heroin Crisis Act that requires Illinois’ Medicaid program to pay for medication and therapy programs to treat addiction. The override vote reinstated this provision, and passed the House and Senate with well over the three-fifths majority required for an override.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, deaths from Heroin use have been on the rise since 2011. Last year, there were 633 heroin overdose deaths in Illinois, an increase from 583 in 2013. To respond to this epidemic, there is an effort to expand the reach of Naloxone, a drug marketed under the name Narcan, which is a narcotic antagonist that works almost instantly to reverse the effects of heroin or pain-relief opioid pills.

House Bill 1 requires pharmacists to provide opioid antagonists like Naloxone to individuals who have completed a training program on the drug. Law enforcement officers and fire fighters will also be required to possess opioid antagonists and receive training on how to use them. Naloxone has no obvious potential for abuse, and it can be administered to an overdose victim with little fear of causing injury.

The bill will also set tougher penalties on those who attempt to obtain controlled substances through means like misrepresentation or deception.

“At times, this heroin epidemic may seem to be a crisis that sprung out of nowhere, but the truth is there are people who set it in motion and other people who make the epidemic worse and continue its proliferation,” said Moylan. “In addition to expanding access to treatment to immediately save lives, it’s important that we punish the individuals who are contributing to this problem.”