I believe that our states legislature can and should recognize that opioid abuse and addiction is a personal and public health problem best addressed by medical and public health intervention.As the 17th District State Representative, I would:
- Support diversion programs for people who engage in low-level criminal activity associated with their substance and opioid use disorder, diverting them to treatment for the disorder and not to jail or prison.
- Support and would vote for laws allowing non-medical personnel to administer naloxone to prevent overdose fatalities; increased funding for treatment centers throughout the state, but especially in areas where no centers currently exist; and requiring all pharmacies to accept return of unused prescription drugs.
- Would require hospitals and other treatment providers to have a discharge plan covering continuing treatment needs before discharging an overdose victim.
- Consider plans for safe injection sites, which have demonstrated success in reducing harm to individuals with substance use disorders, as well as the communities impacted by related activities.
- Oppose efforts to further criminalize behaviors associated with substance use disorders.
I have reviewed the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan issued in September 2017 and find it to be thoughtful and proactive. I would look to the medical and treatment communities for their recommendations on how best to execute the plan and stem this growing epidemic.