Congress to focus on Heroin Epidemic

By Nick Gale, WLS News

(CHICAGO) The heroin epidemic, particularly in the Midwest, is drawing the attention of Congress.

Members will consider 18 pieces of legislation this week dealing with the opioid epidemic.

“In the suburbs of Chicago, the area that I represent, we’re losing one person every three days in the collar counties,” Dold said. “We lose one every day in Cook County.”

Dold says making anti-overdose drugs more widely available could mean fewer overdose deaths each year. He has introduced one such law.

“Lali’s law increases access to the life saving antidote called Naloxone which has already saved nearly 100 lives in Lake County, Illinois alone in just a little over one year.”

Lali’s Law is named after Alex Laliberte, a Buffalo Grove resident and Stevenson High School graduate, who passed away seven years ago from a drug overdose.

Trick negotiations with the Senate still lie ahead. The House approach is more wide-ranging than legislation the Senate passed two months ago.

For instance, the House legislation focuses more on drug trafficking than the Senate bill. It would give states and local governments wider latitude with how they use federal grants, though advocates for opioid legislation worry this could compromise efforts to fund specific programs, particularly those aimed at recovery efforts.

@ 2016 WLS-AM News