The state of Illinois has enacted several pieces of legislation designed to address the growing opioid crisis. The bills were signed last week by Governor Pritzker, and three bills, in particular, are of interest to pharmacists and other medical professionals who handle opioids on a daily basis.
Opioid Legislation to Prevent Overdoses and Expand Resources
Senate Bill 2535 requires pharmacists and medical professionals who write prescriptions for opioids to inform the patients of the drugs’ addictive nature. They also must give the patient the option to receive a drug that may be used to reverse opioid overdoses, also known as an opioid antagonist. This bill takes effect on January 1, 2023.
House Bill 4556, which is effective immediately, allows pharmacists and other medical professionals to distribute testing strips for fentanyl. These strips and other testing supplies can often be classified under the law as drug paraphernalia. This will allow health care facilities, including hospitals and pharmacies, to store these important supplies without the fear of being prosecuted. The strips can quickly determine the presence of fentanyl in a substance and prevent accidental overdoses.
Senate Bill 2565, which is also effective immediately, gives circuit courts in Illinois the ability to implement treatment programs. The courts will be able to provide alternatives to incarceration and use approaches that treat mental health issues as well as substance abuse. If a participant successfully completes the court-ordered programs, they may be able to have their convictions vacated and their records expunged.
One other piece of legislation, House Bill 4408 prohibits insurers and Medicaid from charging a copay for the lifesaving opioid suppressant Naloxone.
In 2021, there were over 3,000 deaths in Illinois attributed to opioid overdoses. These numbers represent a 2.3% increase from 2020 and a 35.8% increase from 2019. These efforts join previous efforts by the state, including more mental health funding, additional treatment services for addiction, safe options for drug disposal, prescription monitoring programs, and support services for children.
Contact a Chicago Healthcare License Defense Attorney
At Williams & Nickl, LLC we are proud to provide representation for medical professionals, including medical doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, in cases of disciplinary action or the denial of a license application. We know that you deal with sensitive medical and health care issues, including the prescription of opioids, every day, and deserve experienced representation. Our Illinois medical license defense lawyers will ensure that the correct steps are taken to resolve any issue with your license quickly and effectively. Contact our office today at 312-335-9470 for a free initial consultation.