Illinois is ahead of much of the country on taking an innovative approach to dealing with heroin addiction with the passage of The Heroin Crisis Act (The Act). The Act follows the lead of the Chief of Police in Gloucester, MA, and instead of treating people charged with heroin possession as criminals, offers treatment for their addiction.
The Act increases funding for drug education, as well. It also establishes a prescription drug refund program and expands the coverage of rehabilitation programs to be included under Medicaid. The law requires all pharmacies to dispense an opioid overdose antidote like naloxone to drug users and their loved ones without discrimination, and firemen, police officers, and school nurses must now carry the drug and receive training on how to administer the drug in the appropriate manner. Naloxone is a drug that effectively reverses the effects of a heroin overdose and saves lives.