Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Heroin users in one northwestern Illinois county are finding an unusual ally when they’re ready to give up drugs…their local police.

state of Illinois

A major anti-heroin initiative is now law in Illinois. It happened yesterday, when the state Senate voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of parts of the proposal.

Activist Chelsea Laliberte or Arlington Heights -- whose brother died of an overdose at age 20 -- waited years for the changes.

"When you watch peoples' lives crumble because they can't get treatment — or they can't get the appropriate level of treatment — and instead they get incarcerated, or they're in an emergency room, or they die? It's very devastating to witness," Laliberte said.

State of Illinois

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a plan that seeks to curb the abuse of heroin and painkilling drugs.

It's touted as a comprehensive package - though it was scaled back from its original version.

As painkillers are often seen as a gateway to heroin, the measure says doctors have to record the medical need when they prescribe narcotics for months at time. It enhances an electronic database that's used to make sure patients aren't doctor-shopping and stockpiling pills.

New Law Expands Scope of Heroin Study

Aug 6, 2014

A new Illinois law expands the scope of a state heroin task force. Governor Pat Quinn signed the legislation yesterday. It expands the age range of the Young Adult Heroin Use Task Force study to include grades six through 12.

State of Illinois

A bipartisan panel studying concerns over increasing heroin use will meet in Rockford Monday. Lawmakers will hear from members of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office and the Rockford Fire Department.

The House Bipartisan Task Force on the Heroin Crisis will be holding a hearing Monday, July 7th from 9:00am – 12:00pm in Rockford at Rock Valley College.

Heroin's Grip Revisited

Jun 9, 2014

Later this week, a legislative panel will meet to finalize a report on addressing heroin use in Illinois. It’s one of two task forces created by the General Assembly to come up with solutions. Their work comes amid concerns about the number of fatal overdoses across the state.

Heroin Message Not Getting Through

Jun 24, 2013

In 2010, WNIJ aired a series on the alarming number of heroin deaths in northern Illinois. The primary concern centered on teens and young adults. Despite efforts to curb use of the drug, the situation is getting worse in some areas. Observers say parental intervention is vital to stopping the spread of heroin. But getting the message through can be a struggle.

Agents battle spread of heroin among teens

Jul 17, 2012

State and federal prosecutors are working together to fight a rise in heroin trafficking. Jack Riley is a special agent in charge of the field division of the Drug Enforcement Agency in Chicago. He tells WNIJ, communities like DeKalb and Rockford aren't immune to the spread of the drug, especially its use among teens. He adds it’s not just a problem in the city of Chicago: