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House Committee OKs Ephedra Bill

Mar 7, 2003 | Bloomington Pantagraph

A proposed state ban on an herbal supplement blamed in the death of a Lincoln teenager moved forward Thursday.

The Illinois House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a measure prohibiting the sale of ephedra, a herbal stimulant.

"It's a deadly drug, and we need to recognize that. There are people out there who are getting injured and dying from this," Kevin Riggins of Lincoln said in testimony before the committee Thursday.

Riggins' 16-year-old son, Sean, died of heart failure last fall. Logan County Coroner Chuck Fricke has linked an over-the-counter ephedra product to the teenager's death.

Riggins, 38, said his son, a football player, and several of his teammates used the drug to enhance their performance.

"They were unaware of the (potential harmful) effects; they had no idea," Riggins said.

Ephedra products are marketed as weight loss aides and energy boosters, but studies indicate risks of stroke and heart failure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on a proposal that would put a warning label on products containing herbal ephedra and its chemical derivative.

Illinois House Bill 2311, sponsored by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, would prohibit the sale of any product containing that ingredient.

The same bill has been introduced in the state Senate.

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