State Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) joined House Republican colleagues today to present a legislative plan to combat the new wave of the opioid crisis affecting communities across Illinois. As fentanyl replaces heroin as the top overdose drug in counties across Illinois, Rep. Bos stood with State Representatives Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) at a press conference today to provide support for a viable solution to address the public health epidemic.
Rep. Bos focused on the human toll theopioid epidemic has taken, which is something that he says can’t be ignored and what has driven him to provide a viable legislative strategy to reflect what families in his district and those across the state have been dealing with.
“This is about protecting our communities and ensuring we are doing everything we can to prevent a dangerous drug like Fentanyl from getting into the wrong hands, like those of the youngest residents in our communities,” said Bos.
Only a small amount of fentanyl – smaller than the size of half a penny – is needed to cause a deadly impact making it so dangerous not only because of its high potency but because it can be laced in other drugs, even marijuana. Bos’ legislative district encompasses much of Lake County and portions of suburban Cook County, which has seen shocking increases in Fentanyl overdoses. In Lake County, there were 93 opioid-related deaths just last year, and by May 31st of this year, that number stands at 52. In suburban Cook County, there were 487 opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2020, and 83% of these deaths involved fentanyl.
“The problem is getting worse and will continue to trend that way—fentanyl doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone, any family, even those who never think it can happen to them,” continued Bos. “My colleagues and I wanted to take a thoughtful approach to tackle this crisis, which means ensuring legislative priorities in Springfield are in line with what our communities are seeing and feeling at home: we need to fight this epidemic to the best of our ability.”
Current legislation driven by democrats in the statehouse has worked to lower criminal penalties for fentanyl, which has helped exacerbate the current crisis. Bos and his colleagues are taking a decisively different approach, in the hopes that it will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of residents across the state.
The legislation filed today to address the Fentanyl epidemic would amend the Illinois Controlled Substances Act with the following provisions:
- Increases penalties for fentanyl possession, manufacturing, and intent to distribute
- Adds a new offense of fentanyl trafficking to the criminal code
- Creates sentencing minimums for the medium in which fentanyl is delivered and would especially be marketable to young residents
Representative Bos is a chief-co-sponsor to the bill, HB 5808.