Illinois Modernizes Approach to Offenders with Substance Use Disorders

joliet drug defense lawyer

Alcohol and drug abuse not only cause human suffering, but also endanger public safety and place an added financial burden on our healthcare and criminal justice systems. Aiming to reduce these social and economic costs, the Illinois legislature passed the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act (20 ILCS 301) in the 1990s. This law provides the foundation for many of the state’s education, prevention, and treatment services, including mandated programs for people charged with DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) .

To reflect changes in scientific understanding, terminology, and social standards, the legislature decided to modernize this law, renaming it the Substance Use Disorder Act (HB4795, now PA 100-0759, signed August 10, 2018). Some of the key changes that will take effect January 1, 2019, include:

• The term “substance use disorder” is defined as persistent problematic behavior involving alcohol, caffeine, cannabis , hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids , sedatives, stimulants, tobacco, or other unknown substances leading to significant impairment.

• Terms like substance abuse, alcoholic/alcoholism, and addict/addiction have been deleted.

• The term “intervention” has been replaced with “early intervention.” “Rehabilitation” has been replaced with “recovery support services.” “Detoxification” has been replaced with “withdrawal management.”

• The Department of Human Services (DHS) is specifically directed to develop a comprehensive plan to be “submitted annually with the application for federal substance use disorder block grant funding.”

• DHS is also directed to develop “evidence-based base practice guidelines” that can be used to diagnose a substance use disorder.

• Licensure categories for providers of intervention and treatment services have been redefined. An adjunct license is now available for providers of medication-assisted treatment that includes methadone for an opioid use disorder.

In a related action, DHS has renamed the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) to the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR).

The legislature also recently passed SB3023: The Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act. This bill was signed into law on August 22, 2018 and takes effect January 1, 2019. It authorizes and encourages local law enforcement agencies to “deflect” people with substance use disorders away from the justice system and into treatment programs. Previously, when a police officer encountered someone impaired by drugs or alcohol, or who had overdosed, they had to choose between an arrest and no arrest. Now police will have a third option: handing off the person to a treatment program.

A Joliet Defense Attorney Who Understands Substance Use Cases

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and also have a substance use disorder, you may be eligible for programs designed to help you solve both problems. State authorities increasingly want to see people get treated medically rather than prosecuted and imprisoned. Discuss your options with a Will County criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience with DUI and drug-related cases. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.