The opioid epidemic has hit every part of our country, and Illinois is certainly no exception. Overdose deaths rose by 30% in our state between 2019 and 2020. According to a study by Northwestern University, most of the victims died before (or without) any kind of medical assistance.
Sadly, too many people die needlessly from opioid overdoses because the people they’re with at the time are afraid to call for help out of fear they (and the overdose victim) will be arrested.
What does Alex’s Law do?
On January 1 of this year, a new law took effect that seeks to help alleviate that concern so that more people can get medical help in time to save people who have overdosed. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation, known as “Alex’s Law,” last fall.
The law states that anyone who “in good faith, seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose shall not be arrested, charged or prosecuted” for a drug crime based on any drugs found at the scene.
Further, a person who’s on probation or out of jail on parole, furlough or pre-trial bond won’t be sent to jail if they called for help based on their drug activity during that event. The law protects the overdose victim as well.
The law was named after a Naperville man who fatally overdosed on fentanyl. His friends who were with him at the time said they didn’t seek help because they feared being arrested.
The law doesn’t apply to those who supply drugs that result in a fatal overdose. It’s also important to note that it doesn’t apply to any other criminal activity, including other drug-related activity, that the person calling for help may have been involved in. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges for which you believe this new law applies, it’s crucial to seek legal advice.