LiquidMedicineSPRINGFIELD – A proposal by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that would allow home nurses and members of law enforcement to safely dispose of unused liquid medication was signed into law on Friday.

“A key component in our fight against the opioid crisis is limiting access to highly addictive painkillers and other drugs,” Morrison said. “While we have seen success in combating doctor shopping and the over-prescribing of opioids, we must also ensure leftover painkillers – especially in home health situations – are disposed of and not readily available for potential abuse.”

The new law, passed under House Bill 1338, would expand the ability of nurses and law enforcement to properly dispose of leftover medications.

Currently, hospice and other home nurses are legally allowed to dispose of solid medications left over when a patient no longer needs them or is deceased. Liquid medications – including pain medicine often used in end-of-life care – are not currently allowed to be disposed of by nurses.

Opioid abuse continues to affect counties across Illinois and the nation. In 2016, more than 1,800 individuals died in Illinois from an opioid overdose. Between 2013 and 2015, emergency personnel administered more than 7,500 doses of naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.

House Bill 1338 was signed into law on Friday and takes effect on January 1, 2019.

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