CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- An Illinois congressman is trying to spread the word about the increasing heroin epidemic in our state and across the country.
Last year alone 545 people died in Cook County and the surrounding collar counties from heroin overdoses.
U.S. Representative Bob Dold is from Illinois' 10th district and is pushing what's known as Lali's law. The name is based on Alex Laliberte, a young man who lost his battle with addiction in 2008.
In Illinois Lali’s law was passed last fall, which allows Naloxone or Narcan to be available at pharmacies by prescription and soon over the counter.
Naloxone is the antidote for a heroin or opiate overdose and Congressman Dold said it has saved more than 70 lives just in Lake County so far with police and first responders using it.
He’s encouraged colleagues to put aside bipartisan politics to pass his version of Lali’s law.
“This is not something that's simply in the inner cities or the back alleys it's actually prevalent throughout every part of our community," said Dold. “The world health organization says that increasing access to this medication could save an additional 20,000 lives every year.”
His law would allow each state the funding to implement naloxone in pharmacies and in the hands of first responders.
“People go from all blue, not breathing not moving - within 3 minutes sitting up talking to you and it's a very simple drug,” said Laura Fry with Live 4 Lali, an outreach and advocacy organization created after Laliberte’s death.
“I’ve never used it on someone, but I’ve had it used on me - 5 times and it's not nice, but I’m alive today,” said Michael Young, recovering heroin addict and now outreach coordinator for A Man in Recovery Foundation, an organization that helps addicts seek treatment.
“It doesn't condone it, it saves lives period end of story bottom line doesn't condone anything, they just want to stick with the stigma that they are addicts,” said Young. “They have to understand addiction first, so that we don't have to use this.”
Naloxone comes in an auto-injector form, in a vile or a nasal spray.
You can find it in select pharmacies, but it will cost you close to $400.
You can find free Naloxone at:
A Man in Recovery Foundation