Illinois lawmakers introduce legislation to combat fentanyl epidemic
CHICAGO - Fentanyl overdoses and deaths continue to surge nationwide, including in Illinois.
The state says nearly 3,000 people overdosed on drugs laced with fentanyl in 2020.
In DuPage County, more than half of overdose deaths involved the synthetic drug.
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On Thursday, lawmakers introduced a new bill to increase prosecution for those caught making and delivering fentanyl.
It also provides more resources for those seeking medical help, and making fentanyl testing strips more readily available.
"People use fentanyl and they know that they're using it but a lot of times, they have no idea that this drug has been put into things that are legal. So by the time they have used it, EMS has to be called because the overdose is occurring and when we get there, it's already almost too late," said Stacy Coon, a retired EMT and executive assistant at Contact Ministries.
The house bill introduced Thursday would also exempt those seeking medical attention from prosecution for possession of fentanyl.