Sen. Faraci

SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Paul Faraci’s measure to allow local government agencies, including law enforcement, to receive grant money for harm reduction deflection programs was signed into law.

“Many times there are circumstances where the best thing that can happen to a person is being admitted into a deflection program that avoids spending the night in jail,” said Faraci (D-Champaign). “I am a firm believer that people struggling with mental health and substance use disorder should have an alternative to sitting in jail.”

The new law will allow law enforcement and other first responder agencies to create deflection programs in partnership with licensed providers of substance use disorder treatment and other community members and organizations. The programs are designed to connect persons with substance use and mental health disorders with treatment instead of arrest or other involvement with the criminal justice system.

Faraci’s measure allows deflection programs set up by local government agencies to accept grants and private dollars to fund the program. Employees participating in the program must be trained in harm reduction, the practice of reducing or attempting to reduce the adverse consequences of substance abuse including syringe service programs and naloxone distribution. Funds for the program may be used to incentivize participation and meet the needs of participants by buying clothing, transportation, toiletries, medical supplies, haircuts, and food and drink if it is necessary to incentivize participation in the program or address an emergency need of the participant.

“We want to give people who are struggling with addiction or their mental health some additional tools to get their lives back on track,” said Faraci. “This move will ultimately save taxpayers money because it will empower people to better themselves and increase accessibility to life changing resources.”

House Bill 3819 was signed into law on Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.