13032018KS0485RSSPRINGFIELD –  The General Assembly may soon have a better idea on how to combat the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced a bipartisan measure this week that would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to annually report to the General Assembly on data collected concerning opioid overdose related deaths.

“The national opioid epidemic has affected all of us,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “A major component of combating this issue is ensuring that we have a complete picture of this crisis. This new measure will give us additional information to ensure the General Assembly has every tool available to institute meaningful legislation to overdoses related deaths and fight addiction in our communities.”

DPH would be required to report the data broken down by each county. Bertino-Tarrant believes it is important to localize the data as much as possible to work with local law enforcement, mental health providers and school districts to fight this crisis from every angle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 115 people die every day in the United State of an opioid overdose — about 42,000 in 2016.

“Addiction does not see age, socioeconomic standing or race,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This is a national epidemic that we must work together to fight.  Every life we save is priceless.”

Under House Bill 4331, hospitals must include the age, gender, race and county of residence of each patient that a hospital diagnoses as having an opioid overdose within 48 hours of the diagnosis.

Additionally, in every case in which an opioid overdose is determined to be a contributing factor in a death, a coroner must report the death and the age, gender, race and county of residence of the decedent to DPH.

House Bill 4331 passed the Senate’s Committee on Public Health with bipartisan support.

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