(CBS) — The head of the state’s premier physicians group is applauding efforts to make a life-saving heroin antidote available to more people, professional and otherwise, reports WBBM Political editor Craig Dellimore.

Here in Illinois, laws are in effect to combat the widespread use of heroin and other opioids and officials want to make sure first responders like police, paramedics and others carry naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

Pharmacists can also give it out to families without a prescription. Is there a danger of misuse? Illinois State Medical Society President Dr. Thomas Anderson says the benefits of having Naloxone available outweigh any concerns.

“The problem with the availability of naloxone being limited in any way is that I tends to not be available when it is needed,” Dr. Anderson said. “If somebody is facing a relative who has just collapsed from a drug overdose, you can call 911, but it’s like having the doctor tell you, ‘Oh you’ve got chest pain, go take a couple Aspirin and then go to the hospital emergency room.”

Federal legislation is making its way through Congress to widen access to Naloxone.

President Dr. Anderson is the guest on our “AT ISSUE” program this weekend. You can download the full episode at cbschicago.com/audio.