Newly Introduced Bills Aim to Combat Heroin Addiction in Illinois

Naperville criminal defense attorney, heroin addiction in IllinoisOn May 25, a series of laws intended to address the increasing use of heroin in the country were passed by both houses of the Illinois legislature. Both bills make it easier for those who have committed a drug offense and also struggle with opiate addictions to receive treatment, including medications, as part of their sentence. The laws await the signature of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

House Bill 5595

House Bill 5595 amends the Alcoholism and other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act to require all licensed programs whose purpose is to serve those with substance abuse problems to provide educational information to participants. Additionally, all educational materials provided must be supported by research and updated regularly.

According to the recently passed bill, programs approved by the Department of Human Services must also provide information about treatment options for opioid addiction, including:

  • The possible use of medication as a means to combat addiction;
  • How to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose; and
  • The use and administration of naloxone as a method of treating opioid addiction.

Opioid overdoses can be deadly. Symptoms indicating a possible overdose include:

  • Excessive drowsiness;
  • Shallow or stopped breathing;
  • Small pupils; and
  • A failure to awaken when spoken to in a loud voice.

Naloxone has proven to be an effective antidote that works to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose. The drug takes the form of a liquid and is intended to be injected either into a muscle, into a vein, or under the skin. It also comes as a pre-filled auto-injection device that enables quick responses to opiate overdoses.

House Bill 5594

Courts are given the discretion to require a defendant to complete a treatment program for substance abuse in an outpatient, inpatient, residential, or jail-based setting. House Bill 5594, which was also approved by both houses on May 25, amends the Drug Court Treatment Act by requiring defendants with opioid addiction to also receive drug treatment from a licensed physician.

Additionally, if a defendant needs treatment for opioid addiction, the court is not permitted to bar him or her from participating in and receiving medication assisted treatment, such as a prescription for methadone, if provided by a licensed physician. Additionally, those participating in drug court may not be required, as a prerequisite of completing the program, to abstain from using medication as a means of treatment.

Being charged with a drug offense can be devastating for offenders and their families. Fortunately, there are programs that work to help those with opiate abuse issues to seek treatment as an alternative to jail time. If you have been charged with a drug offense, please contact the experienced Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC, and a member of our dedicated legal team will help you schedule your initial consultation.