ADDRESSING HEROIN OVERDOSE ISSUES IN ILLINOIS

Did you more people die of drug overdoses than car accidents in Illinois? In fact, many residents may not be aware but Illinois is one of only 14 states that have passed the Emergency Medical Services Access Act/The Good Samaritan Overdose Law (Illinois Public Act 097-0678), which went into effect in June 2012 to reduce the number of overdose deaths.

Before the law, too many victims were dropped off alone and unconscious outside the doors of hospitals or even abandoned by friends to die for fear of criminal prosecution.

The Good Samaritan Law is meant to encourage bystanders witnessing a drug overdose to seek medical help for the victim. The bystander who calls 911 or seeks medical help will receive immunity from criminal charges for drug possession (except for marijuana). The overdose victim also is protected.

Overdose Anecdote

Legislation passed in 2009 made Illinois one of 16 states that allow distribution without requiring a doctor to prescribe every dose of naloxone, an opiate antagonist that reverses the effect of overdose from opiates like heroin.

The law’s implementation in 2010 ended what had been a legal conundrum of how to distribute a drug to someone to give to someone else, or to a user who might not need to take a dose for months. Naloxone gives concerned loved ones and care givers a window of opportunity to save a life until emergency medical help arrives.

To ensure the safety of opiate dependent individuals in treatment, all Gateway Foundation treatment centers have naloxone available and trained professionals to administer it.

“The increase in heroin overdose deaths is troubling. That is why we do everything we can to ensure the health, comfort and safety of the teens and adults we treat for opiate dependency,” says Sally Thoren, Executive Director, Gateway Foundation Chicago West. “Before the law was enacted, in the event of an overdose treatment centers would have to call 911 and lose precious minutes waiting for the help to arrive.”

If you know someone who needs help breaking free from opioids, Gateway Foundation can help. For a free and confidential consultation, please call 877-505-4673.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: