(CBS) — Make it two lives saved in heroin overdose situations in less than a week for police in DuPage County.
That has officials proudly saying the county’s relatively new Narcan antidote program is working.
First, a DuPage County Sheriff’s deputy administered Narcan to a 32-year old woman having a heroin overdose Saturday near Villa Park.
Then, Wednesday night, two Hanover Park police officers, who’d just been trained 10 days before on giving Narcan in heroin overdose situations, saved the life of a 29-year old man.
Hanover Park Deputy Police Chief Tom Cortese said the officers had been told by the man’s sister that he had had a history of heroin use, so “they started CPR.”
When that had no effect, they “applied the first dose of Narcan.”
The officers needed to use a second dose before the man started to come around, according to Cortese. Paramedics had to administer a third dose and the man is said to be doing well now.
The DuPage County Narcan Program started a few months ago, after Coroner Richard Jorgensen began raising concerns about the number of heroin-related deaths in the county.
Last year, there were 46 heroin-related overdose deaths in DuPage County, according to the coroner’s office. This year, there have been four.
Karen Ayala, executive director of the DuPage County Health Department says of the two saved lives in less than a week that, “It absolutely speaks to the scope of the problem and underscores the need for this intervention and this strategy.”
Ayala said, as of next Tuesday, there will be 28 police departments in DuPage County that have been trained in the use of Narcan.
That will mean a total of 1,262 officers who “have access to this life-saving antidote.”
Ayala said police officers are being trained, because they most often are the first on the scene of a heroin overdose – and seconds count.
“Heroin puts the brain to sleep. That immediacy of their ability to respond to that overdose is exactly the point of putting it into the hand of the law enforcement officers,” Ayala said.
Ayala said heroin addicts who’ve been brought back to life with the Narcan, “have gone through this life-changing experience are more receptive and responsive to treatment”.
Cortese said all 61 sworn officers in his department have been trained. He said heroin is a problem everywhere, and Hanover Park needs to be ready to deal with it just like everywhere else.
“We don’t want to bury our heads in the sand and say we don’t have any problem,” he said.