Failed veto shows governor placed dollars ahead of lives

Dear Editor,

I understand how the plague of heroin has resulted in far too many mothers and fathers having to bury their children. In many communities, it is easier for teenagers to get access to this drug than alcohol.

This is why I am disappointed in Gov. Rauner’s amendatory veto of landmark legislation I supported this year to combat this deadly disease. Thankfully, I joined with a bipartisan group of legislators to override the governor’s veto.

As heroin continues to be a devastating problem across much of Illinois, the steps taken in Will County have resulted in lives being saved. The leadership shown by local leaders to equip law enforcement officers with life-saving medication has been instrumental in reducing the number of fatalities from 53 in 2012 to 33 in 2014. The governor’s veto would mean those who are most

vulnerable to addiction will be blocked from accessing emergency care.

I believe the governor’s decision in valuing dollars over lives was extremely short-sighted. Last year alone, over 600 people in Illinois died from overdosing on heroin. Cutting off thousands of

Illinoisans from medication and treatment will only lead to more dependency and death. Not only will getting users the help they need save lives, but will also save the state over $58 million in Medicaid spending.

I would like to thank both Democratic and Republican legislators who took the compassionate and responsible vote to save lives and protect children in our community from heroin.

Sincerely,

Larry Walsh Jr.

86th District Representative

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