Highlighting New Laws Taking Effect January 1st

From bills to help veterans and reduce government waste, legislation covering a wide variety of issues will become law at the turn of the year. Another measure that will take effect on Jan. 1 was signed by the Governor on Dec. 13 to combat fraudulent opioid prescriptions by targeting “doctor-shopping.”

Combatting Opioid Abuse

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, a new law will help deter the practice known as “doctor-shopping” for prescription drugs, by requiring prescribers to check a patient’s prescription history before writing a prescription.

Often individuals abusing opioids and other drugs obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors to support their addiction. Senate Bill 772/PA 100-0564 requires prescribers to check with the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, a database that records patients’ prescription histories, before prescribing opioids.

Signed on Dec. 13, the new law will allow doctors to make more informed decisions about care for high-risk patients to ensure physicians aren’t overprescribing—and that the patient isn’t doctor-shopping.

Helping Our Veterans

Several measures that take effect January 1st seek to provide veterans with the tools they need to be successful when returning to civilian life.

Senate Bill 1238 allows for the expansion of the number of veterans’ courts in the state, which are able to focus directly on the special needs of former and current members of the Armed Services. In some instances, veterans who qualify and successfully comply with court orders are able to receive the treatment they need and have their charges dismissed.

Senate Bill 866 requires the state’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs to give informational resources on service animals to veterans returning from deployment. The legislation was introduced in response to information gathered by the 2015 Veterans’ Suicide Task Force, which found that many veterans do not know about all the services and programs offered to them, especially those pertaining to service animals.

Senate Bill 838 seeks to educate veterans about the importance of early cancer screening, while House Bill 3701 seeks to help current and former members of the military advance their higher education, by requiring public universities and community colleges to form a policy to award appropriate academic credit for the education and training gained during military service.

Organ Donor Registry

Also beginning in 2018, 16-year-olds will have the opportunity to have their names included in the First Person Consent organ and tissue donor registry. House Bill 1805 reduces the age of consent from 18 to 16, to give younger residents the option to become a donor, which will increase the numbers of organ and tissue donors in the database.

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