Republican State Senator Michael Connelly is sponsoring legislation this spring to expand a suburban Chicago program that provides emergency medical care to prevent heroin drug overdoses.
Under Sen. Connelly’s proposal, school nursing personnel across the state would be allowed to administer the life-saving NARCAN antidote (drug name: Naloxone) that reverses the effects of an overdose. Similar to a current law allowing school personnel to administer “epi-pens,” which help reverse anaphylactic shock, the new legislation would make school districts and authorized personnel immune from civil liabilities if NARCAN is administered in “good faith.”
Reports of heroin addiction and deaths from overdose have been widely reported across the state in recent years. Legislative activity by the Senate and House in 2014 included hearings at the Capitol and in communities struggling with a huge increase in the use of the drug.
Sen. Connelly said DuPage County law enforcement officials recorded 32 lives saved during 2014 using the NARCAN antidote.
According to the group “Stop Overdose IL,” the use of NARCAN has reduced overdose deaths by 50 percent through blocking the effects of heroin and other opiates on the brain.