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Illinois legislators renew push to fight against opioids with new bill

In 2013, Illinois saw 87 overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids. In 2021, that number was 2,672 according to the Dept. of Public Health, a nearly 3000% increase.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — On Tuesday, Illinois State Senators Sally Turner and Sue Rezin were joined by the Mclean County State's Attorney Erika Reynolds to renew their push in the fight against opioids. 

Their push centers around Illinois Senate Bill 4221. The Bill would create two new offenses in Illinois surrounding opioids. The first would create a new Class X felony for dispensing or selling scheduled drugs, such as Adderall or Vicodin laced with fentanyl. The second would create a fine of at least $100,000 for dealers who used electronic communications to sell or dispense scheduled drugs like Adderall or Vicodin laced with fentanyl. 

"No longer is this something that happens in a faraway land. It's happening everywhere. it's happening in cities down to our rural communities and is killing our families." said Sen. Turner, the 44th District's state senator.

The senators showed how overdose deaths in Illinois have grown in recent years. 

"In 2013 Illinois saw 87 deaths from synthetic opioids," said Sen. Rezin, the 38th District's state senator. "In 2021, according to the Department of Public Health, Illinois saw 2,672 overdose deaths from synthetic opioids."

That's nearly a 3,000% increase in overdose deaths from synthetic opioids in about a decade.

McLean County State's Attorney Erika Reynolds explained why her office is encouraged by the bill being presented. 

"For those of you that aren't aware, currently it takes over 15 grams of fentanyl delivery for a defendant to be non-probational," Reynolds explained. "This makes it difficult for our office to hold people seriously accountable who sell fentanyl." Charging a person with drug-induced homicide has also proven very difficult because it's the one homicide that you can commit thousands of miles away."

You can read the full text of House Bill 4221 by clicking/tapping here.

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