Sen. Bush with Chelsea Laliberte and Chief Craig Sommerville in testimonyAn initiative that would expand access to emergency, life-saving medication will proceed to a vote in the Illinois Senate, State Sen. Melinda Bush announced.

“Heroin use among our youth is a serious problem in the suburban areas I represent,” Bush said. “Since first responders have been equipped with and trained in the use of emergency drugs like naloxone hydrochloride, they have been able to act quickly to save the lives of people overdosing on heroin. By making opioid antidotes like Narcan available by prescription at pharmacies, we would give families the chance to save a life.”

Naloxone hydrochloride, sometimes sold under the brand name “Narcan,” is an opioid antagonist drug. Delivered via a nasal injection, the fast-acting drug blocks the effects of narcotics like heroin on the brain. When administered quickly enough it can counteract the effects of a narcotics overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error.



Chelsea Laliberte, a founder of Live4Lali, a drug addiction education and awareness not-for-profit, testified before the Senate Public Health Committee prior to the unanimous “Yes” vote. She and her family formed the organization after her brother died of a heroin overdose in 2008. The group has promoted awareness of and access to the drug.

“We said ‘There’s a drug out there that could have saved his life, and we didn’t know about it?’ We knew that in order to save lives, this would need to become more available,” Laliberte said prior to her appearance before the committee.

The drug is already in use by law enforcement officials, who earlier this month saved a Mundelein man who was overdosing. Police chiefs like Lake Villa Police Department’s Craig Somerville and Eric Guenther, Chief of the Mundelein Police Department, have expressed their support for wider availability of the drug.

“I’ve been on many overdose scenes personally where EMTs came in and revived a person who was as good as gone,” Somerville said of his experience seeing the drug deployed in the field. “It’s pretty much foolproof. I’ll have [a dose] in the pocket of my uniform when I come into work tomorrow.”

Bush said concerns about the drug’s availability in households possibly enabling narcotic use is understandable, but the potential to save lives can’t be ignored.

“People didn’t start driving more recklessly because cars suddenly added seatbelts,” Bush said.  “Nobody goes out looking to OD.  When people do, those who discover them are often their family or friends. This could give people the ability to save a loved one in the precious minutes available.”

Somerville said he has heard such concerns, but believes denying the drug to families could result in completely avoidable tragedy. Those who could be saved by the drug are often found by family members, who will be able to act immediately, he said.

“Why would we put such a stigma on this and not make this available to a family?” Somerville said. “They’re there before we are.”

The Public Health Committee also approved separate legislation, also supported by Bush, allowing non-EMT first responders to administer Narcan and requiring police and firefighter trainees to be instructed in its use.

The proposals are Senate Bill 1466 and Senate Bill 10. They proceed to the Senate floor for a vote.

In honor of the work Ms. Laliberte, her family and Live4Lali have done to advance awareness of the heroin epidemic, Senate Bill 1466 will be named “Lali’s Law.”

An initiative that would expand access to emergency, life-saving medication will proceed to a vote in the Illinois Senate, State Sen. Melinda Bush announced.

“Heroin use among our youth is a serious problem in the suburban areas I represent,” Bush said. “Since first responders have been equipped with and trained in the use of emergency drugs like naloxone hydrochloride, they have been able to act quickly to save the lives of people overdosing on heroin. By making opioid antidotes like Narcan available by prescription at pharmacies, we would give families the same chance to save a life.”

Naloxone hydrochloride, sometimes sold under the brand name “Narcan,” is an opioid antagonist drug. Delivered via a nasal injection, the fast-acting drug blocks the effects of narcotics like heroin on the brain. When administered quickly enough it can counteract the effects of a narcotics overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error.

Chelsea Laliberte, a founder of Live4Lali, a drug addiction education and awareness not-for-profit, testified before the Senate Public Health Committee prior to the unanimous “Yes” vote. She and her family formed the organization after her brother died of a heroin overdose in 2008. The group has promoted awareness of and access to the drug.

“We said ‘There’s a drug out there that could have saved his life, and we didn’t know about it?’ We knew that in order to save lives, this would need to become more available,” Laliberte said prior to her appearance before the committee.

The drug is already in use by law enforcement officials, who earlier this month saved a Mundelein man who was overdosing. Police chiefs like Lake Villa Police Department’s Craig Somerville and Eric Guenther, Chief of the Mundelein Police Department, have expressed their support for wider availability of the drug.

“I’ve been on many overdose scenes personally where EMTs came in and revived a person who was as good as gone,” Somerville said of his experience seeing the drug deployed in the field. “It’s pretty much foolproof. I’ll have [a dose] in the pocket of my uniform when I come into work tomorrow.”

Bush said concerns about the drug’s availability in households possibly enabling narcotic use is understandable, but the potential to save lives can’t be ignored.

“People didn’t start driving more recklessly because cars suddenly added seatbelts,” Bush said.  “Nobody goes out looking to OD.  When people do, those who discover them are often their family or friends. This could give people the ability to save a loved one in the precious minutes available.”

Somerville said he has heard such concerns, but believes denying the drug to families could result in completely avoidable tragedy. Those who could be saved by the drug are often found by family members, who will be able to act immediately, he said.

“Why would we put such a stigma on this and not make this available to a family?” Somerville said. “They’re there before we are.”

The Public Health Committee also approved separate legislation, also supported by Bush, allowing non-EMT first responders to administer Narcan and requiring police and firefighter trainees to be instructed in its use.

The proposals are Senate Bill 1466 and Senate Bill 10. They proceed to the Senate floor for a vote.

In honor of the work Ms. Laliberte, her family and Live4Lali have done to advance awareness of the heroin epidemic, Senate Bill 1466 will be named “Lali’s Law.”

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