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Certain Illinois music venues must have overdose-reversing drugs starting next June

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(The Center Square) – Some Illinois concert venues will soon be required to have overdose-reversing drugs on hand.

Several pieces of legislation were introduced in the General Assembly during the spring session that dealt with fentanyl overdoses, including easier access to fentanyl test strips.

State Sen. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, advanced a measure aimed to prevent overdose deaths at concert venues. The legislation requires for-profit music venues that have an occupancy of 1,000 or more to have opioid-overdose antidotes on hand and trained staff available to administer the drugs.

Naloxone is used to reverse an opioid overdose by blocking the effects of opiates on the brain and restoring breathing. Amphetamine and ecstasy are common “party drugs” used at concerts that could potentially be laced with opioids.

“People go to a music festival or concert to enjoy themselves and one bad decision should not cost them their life,” said Villa. “Whether someone consumes a harmful substance on purpose or accidentally, this bill will save lives by expanding first aid in concert halls to include treating overdose.”

The law applies to music venues for live concerts or musical performances for which tickets are sold for entry.

Fentanyl now accounts for nearly 70% of all opioid-related deaths in the U.S., with a growing number of overdoses occurring at events such as music festivals. Music festivals like Lollapalooza have become hotspots for party drugs like ecstasy and cocaine.

Illinois ranks sixth nationally in nonfatal opioid overdoses, according to an analysis of National Emergency Medical Services Information System data.

After being signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this month, the law goes into effect June 1, 2024.

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