Bill advances to make prescription painkiller abuse harder

SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois House committee has advanced a measure designed to make it harder to abuse prescription painkillers.

The Human Services Committee approved the measure 9-3 Tuesday. It moves to the House floor.

The legislation would require government and insurance programs to cover the use of painkilling opioids that can’t be crushed into powder.

When in powder form, the drugs can be snorted or injected by drug-abusers.

Opponents warn the special drugs are a far more expensive option.

A representative from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services says the requirement would add $55 million to Medicaid costs.