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From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved final changes to legislation to launch a pilot program to provide locking devices on painkiller pharmacy prescriptions.

HB 3219, the first locking device bill passed in the U.S., now goes to the governor.

Bill sponsor Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said the bill would launch a one-year pilot with the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation with participating pharmacies across Illinois. The numerical locking devices – caps similar to those used on gym locks – would be placed on opioid pharmaceutical prescriptions at participating pharmacies.

"When it comes to addiction and substance abuse issues, we've seen time and again the need for an aggressive approach to deter abusers,” Zalewski said. “I was pleased to work with Rep. Martwick and Senator Martinez to bring this new and innovative technology to the citizens of Illinois through the use of a market driven approach.”

Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, also a former prosecutor, co-sponsored the bill.

Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Prescription painkillers cause three out of four prescription drug overdoses.

A report compiled by the CDC released in December 2014, finds that deaths from drug poisoning linked to opioid analgesics (such as morphine, oxycodone, methadone and heroin) have jumped to 41,502 in 2012 from 16,849 back in 1999.

Chief Senator sponsor of the bill was Senator Iris Martinez, D-Chicago. The bill would take effect January 1, 2016.