Villa measure to protect individuals from overdose passes Senate

SPRINGFIELD – An initiative from social workers at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and State Senator Karina Villa to protect individuals from overdose passed the Senate Friday.

“Social workers are at the forefront of the opioid epidemic, providing services in communities affected by overdose across the state,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “They can help combat the epidemic directly by being able to administer lifesaving medication.”

Senate Bill 3779 would allow licensed clinical social workers and licensed social workers to possess and administer opioid antagonists. Opioid antagonists, such as Naloxone, temporarily block the effects of an overdose and restore breathing. Employers of social workers would be required to provide training and establish a policy to control the acquisition, storage, transportation, and administration of opioid antagonists.

The Opioid Data Dashboard demonstrates that a fatal overdose occurred in almost every county in Illinois. Social workers often encounter individuals at risk of experiencing an overdose while practicing in a variety of settings and authorizing them to administer opioid antagonist would prevent future fatalities.

“From big cities to small towns, the opioid epidemic affects everyone,” said Villa. “We must continue to find ways to save people’s lives – and this measure will accomplish that.”

Senate Bill 3779 passed the Senate Friday and heads to the House for further consideration.