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New Illinois law aims to stop overdose deaths

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- Drug problems continue to claim lives every day. According to the CDC, deaths caused by drug overdoses hit an all-time high in 2020 reaching more than 81,000 deaths.

There's a new law in Illinois that aims to encourage more people to get medical help before it's too late.

The law, which is already in effect, makes it so people can't get punished for possession of small amounts of drugs if they're seeking treatment for an overdose.

Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha says his office is more concerned with getting people the help they need instead of just locking them away.

“We don’t want to send those people to prison and very rarely will we send someone to prison if they have simply a possession of a controlled substance. That’s not who we want to be or what we want to see happen."

Farha says he wants people to get the help they need through rehabilitation, but he says often people struggling with addiction won’t accept help on their own.

“This is another recognition that we’re not looking to put people in prison for being addicted to drugs, but we do think there needs to be help. Sometimes that help has to be forced on people.”

Farha says arrests for opioids are less common in Adams County than in other areas of the state. He says the biggest drug problem facing our area in meth.

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Isabella Rossi

Multimedia Journalist

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