Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sen Mike Connelly Offers Legislation to Allow School Nurses to Administer NARCAN, to Combat Heroin Overdoses

WHEATON, IL – With help from local law enforcement officials, State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Lisle) is sponsoring legislation to allow school nursing personnel to administer the life-saving NARCAN antidote to prevent drug overdoses. “DuPage law enforcement officials have already recorded 32 ‘saves’ of individuals in 2014, who would have died had it not been for them being equipped with NARCAN,” Connelly said. “We have to do more to help combat the scourge of heroin and other opioids and my bill will enable school medical personnel to use this valuable antidote. To date, the DuPage NARCAN effort has trained 35 departments and nearly 1,900 law enforcement officers. The program is the first county-wide application of NARCAN in the state.” Connelly’s legislation would help take the DuPage NARCAN Project statewide. Senate Bill 73 models efforts after the program that law enforcement officers have taken part in since October 2013. DuPage NARCAN began after a county health department grant provided training and supplies for nearly 370 local law enforcement officers. DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin has credited the antidote as a means to help slow the heroin epidemic. “This bill is about saving lives, pure and simple. NARCAN is a proven tool in law enforcement’s effort to save lives. The DuPage project can serve as a model for the rest of Illinois.” Dr. Richard Jorgensen, DuPage County Coroner says he supports the legislation because it is a common-sense solution. His office has dealt with an ever-increasing number of heroin-related overdoses in recent years. “NARCAN has very few, if any, serious side effects and when administered can be a life-saving tool. When used to reverse the effects of opioids and heroin, we have 32 documented cases, right here in our county that show the positive benefits. More specifically, we have evidence to show that during school hours, educating school medical personnel about the usage of NARCAN, we can help save school-aged children.” Senate Bill 73 is loosely based off of Public Act 98-0795, which allows school personnel to administer “epi-pens,” which help reverse anaphylactic shock. The legislation would make school districts and authorized personnel immune from civil liabilities, if NARCAN is administered in “good faith.” ###

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