In the News

Lake County Opioid Initiative: Heroin law will ‘save so many lives’

With a 44-11 vote by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday afternoon, the General Assembly completed an override of a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner to enact a sweeping set of measures aimed at helping to reduce heroin and opiate addiction.

“I feel shocked and elated,” said Chelsea Laliberte, a co-founder of the Lake County Opioid Initiative, a group that includes medical experts, elected officials and residents.

Laliberte, in Springfield for last-minute lobbying and to witness the vote, said the law will “save so many lives.”

“There will be no more delay. This vitally necessary plan to address the heroin crisis in Illinois will be the law of the land,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, who sponsored a portion of the legislation and voted in favor of the override.

House members had already voted 105-5 on Sept. 1 to override Rauner’s veto.

While Rauner had supported many sections of the legislation, in a statement following his amendatory veto last month, the governor said he based his actions on costs associated with treatment services. Rauner said those provisions would be too expensive under the state’s current financial situation.

A section of the law dealing with expanded access to naloxone hydrochloride — a medication that counteracts opiate overdoses — are referred to as “Lali’s Law” in honor of Alex Laliberte, who died from a 2008 overdose in Buffalo Grove. Bush sponsored that section of the new law.

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