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Prescription drugs: New Illinois law first of its kind

MGN Online: Prescription bottle.

SPRINGFIELD -

A potential Illinois law is now a reality after legislation to launch the program was signed into law on Friday.

This program is the first of its kind in the U.S. to provide locking devices on painkill pharmacy prescriptions.

House Bill 3219 creates the statewide program aimed at saving lives by creating an extra layer of security on prescription drug bottles containing painkillers, which are among the most abused drugs in the nation.

This Bill is co-sponsored by State Representatives and former prosecutors Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside), Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) and Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago).

"I'd like to thank Governor Rauner for his signature. Illinoisans will be safer as a result of this innovative legislation that will reduce the health crisis of opioid abuse," Rep. Zalewski said.

The new law will launch a one-year pilot program regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) in coordination with participating pharmacies across Illinois.

The numerical locking devices - caps similar to those used on gym locks - would be placed on opioid pharmaceutical prescription bottles.

"This program is all about helping people who are caught in the stranglehold of painkiller abuse. If this program saves just one life, it's worth it," said Rep. Martwick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990.

Prescription painkillers cause three out of four prescription drug overdoses.

A report compiled by the CDC and released in December of last year, finds that deaths from drug poisoning linked to opioid analgesics have jumped to 41,502 in 2012 from 16,849 back in 1999.

Opioid analgesics include drugs such as morphine, oxycodone, methadone and heroin.

This new law takes affect on January 1, 2016.

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