Illinois looking to pass anti-heroin bill

Illinois lawmakers are searching for a long-term solution to a growing problem.

Heroin use has increased by 80% in the US since 2007.

In Southern Illinois, opiate overdoses have doubled in recent years.

Michael Fredman is one-year clean and sober, but he still remembers what it feels like.

“I would fall asleep and I would wake up gasping for breath,” said Fredman.

He had a few close calls as a heroin addict.

West Frankfort Police Chief Shawn Talluto says doctor-prescribed pain-killers can just as easily land you in an ambulance.

“Pharmaceutical overdoses have doubled in, I think, the last ten or 15 years,” said Talluto.

It was pills that got Fredman hooked.

“We dug around the medicine cabinets, you can find these things,” said Fredman.

Some lawmakers support the measure in the bill that all first responders would carry the “anti-narcotic” called Narcan to stop a high, instantly.

An IV or nasal spray of Narcan can stop an overdose in its tracks.

“It saves lives, I’ve seen it happen,” said Talluto.

Fredman knows the power of Narcan, but worries it is only a quick fix to a deadly problem.

“I took health class back in high school, 2006, and I don’t recall learning about prescription drug use and heroine,” said Fredman.

He thinks education reform could be more powerful, long-term solution, than Narcan.

If the bill passes, the cost to ensure police and first responders have these drugs and devices could cost around $20 million.

Lawmakers are still debating and re-writing the bill.

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