Lali’s Law Will Save Lives

By: Congressman Robert Dold, US Representative

Alex Laliberte played sports at Stevenson High School, did well in school and cared about his friends and family, but during his sophomore year of college, he was repeatedly hospitalized for a mysterious illness.

Unknown to his family and doctors, Alex had an addiction to prescription drugs and was being hospitalized for his withdrawal. He would stay in the hospital until his symptoms subsided, then he would use again and repeat the cycle.

Alex continued this pattern until he died of a drug overdose a few days after his final exams.

Sadly, heroin takes a life every 3 days in the Chicago suburbs and every 19 minutes across the country. Heroin users frequently say the gateway to their addiction was taking a friend’s or relative’s prescription drugs.

The good news is that we know there are steps we can take to prevent overdoses, and this summer Congress made significant progress by passing a comprehensive package of bills to prevent overdoses, fight addiction and care for people struggling with drug use.

A life-saving antidote called naloxone might have been able to save Alex’s life, but he died before he had the chance to seek help for his dependency. That’s why we partnered with Alex’s family to introduce and pass our bipartisan bill Lali’s Law in Alex’s memory. Now that our bill has been signed into law, Lali’s Law is increasing access to naloxone by funding programs designed to help those struggling with addiction.

The World Health Organization predicts increased access to naloxone could save another 20,000 lives every year. In Lake County alone, naloxone has already saved nearly 100 lives.

Lali’s Law is an example of what is possible when we set aside partisanship to help keep families safe. Our bipartisan bill brought Alex’s story to the United States Congress, and his lasting legacy will now include helping countless others find a second chance at recovery.