After President Donald Trump signed a bill to further address the issue, Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti says the state is leading the way in combating the opioid epidemic.

Trump on Wednesday signed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act with sweeping measures targeting the opioid crisis.

“We are going to end it or we are at least going to make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem,” Trump said.

The measure does a host of things, such as providing additional access to treatment and recovery services, incentives for innovative care and establishes opioid recovery centers. It also works to encourage nonaddictive alternatives to opioids, improves data collection to identify at-risk patients, and gives law enforcement more tools to go after illicit opioids at international mail facilities.

In Illinois, drug overdose deaths have increased in recent years. For the one-year period that ended in January, Illinois had 2,760 reported deaths, that’s an increase of 236, or 10 percent, over the previous year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, overdose deaths increased 6.3 percent during the same period.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said one issue Illinois is tackling is overprescribing of opioids through a prescription monitoring program.

“That was actually something that people could opt into,” Sanguinetti said. “It wasn’t mandatory. The governor made it mandatory. And now we can track those over-prescribers and we’ve been seeing a significant difference over the course of time in prescriptions just in that step alone.”

Sanguinetti said the Land of Lincoln also opened up access to overdose reversal agent Narcan to more than just first responders.

“Now we have a standing order where we can all be first responders,” Sanguinetti said. “We go to a Walgreens, we can go to a CVS, we can get Narcan. I have Narcan. I’m Narcan trained, because it’s elevated to that. We all have to be ready.”

She said Illinois also followed through by providing pain patients an alternative to opioids.

“So why do not people have the option to trade in that prescription for opiates in exchange for cannabis and now that’s available,” Sanguinetti said. “That’s one of the measures that make us cutting edge nationwide too.”

Sanguinetti helped lead a multiagency task force that featured roundtable discussions throughout the state to produce a report on ways to further reduce overdose deaths.

The federal legislation Trump signed Wednesday also has another component that doesn’t deal with opioid addiction, but will impact at least one private employer in Illinois.

“Additionally, this package contains my bill to fix one of the broken components of Obamacare, the religious conscience exemption,” said U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville. “It modestly expands the exemption to include individuals who rely solely on religious methods of healing, like Christian Scientists.”

“As the representative of Principia College, the only Christian Scientist college in the nation, I have been fighting for this change since coming to Congress. I am grateful it was finally signed into law so that they will no longer be forced to choose between following their religion or violating the law.”

“We’re grateful for the passage of this religious conscience provision — and even more, for this example that thoughtful bipartisan efforts are truly possible between people of good will, regardless of religious belief or political affiliation,” said Robin Hoagland, chair of the Board of Directors of the Christian Science Church.