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Police, Health Officials React To New Opioid Bills

Rick Bowmer
Syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl are shown in an inpatient pharmacy.

Medical professionals in Illinois now have to undergo training on how to safely prescribe opioids. 

That's one of several measures Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law this week in an effort to curtail Illinois’ opioid epidemic.

Trisha Malott, Supervisor of the McLean County Behavioral Health Coordinating Council told GLT’s  Sound Ideas the over-prescribing of these powerful drugs have contributed to the drug epidemic.

“I know there’s been a shift in the medical world in the last year in particular recognizing the impact of the prescribing of opioids for pain in particular,” Malott said.

Medical marijuana

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said he supports a new state program who Rauner signed into law that would allow medical marijuana to be prescribed as an alternative to opioids.

But Sandage said he's concerned marijuana advocates will push for its legalization on the broader scale.

“We still have a lot of violence related to marijuana,” Sandage said. “So if this is a way of leaning toward total legalization, I’m totally against it.”

Overdose awareness

Health officials and law enforcement will gather Friday at a memorial planting outside the McLean County Law and Justice Center in Bloomington to honor the 40 McLean County residents who died of an overdose last year.

Friday is International Overdose Awareness Day.

After the memorial planting, social service agencies will be on hand to provide resources to help prevent overdose and support families and friends who are trying to help someone who is struggling with a chemical dependency.

There have been 17 overdose deaths in the county so far this year.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.