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Illinois is First in the Nation to Ban Ephedra

(File Photo)
Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich

By IL Public Radio/KWMU

Chicago, Ill. – Illinois has become the first state to ban the herbal supplment ephedra. Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the ban into law on Sunday; it takes effect immediately.

The supplement is popular among athletes who see it as a diet drug. But it has also been blamed on more than 100 deaths in the U.S., including the death of a high school football player in central Illinois last year.

"We have to make sure that no longer can they go to a store and buy ephedra products just as easily as they can buy chewing gum," the governor said. "Ephedra can kill you; if you take ephedra products you are playing Russian routlette with your health."

The law specifically makes it illegal to sell ephedra without a prescription. Blagojevich says people will still probably try to buy the drug in other states or online, which is why he hopes the federal government will follow Illinois' lead and ban the product nationwide.


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