October 17, 2014

Heroin Press Conference

It’s a scenario happening far too often in DuPage County.

“Myself and another officer arrived to an unresponsive male in his bedroom,” said Tim McNulty, Hanover Park Officer. “When we arrived he was sprawled on his bed, he was erratically breathing blue in the face. According to his sister, who called 911, he is a previous heroin user. She believed he was overdosing.”

In this case, the victim’s life was saved due to Narcan, the prescription drug that blocks opioid receptors in the brain, which reverses a heroin overdose.

A year ago, this scenario might have ended differently, but thanks to the DuPage Narcan Program, which put this life saving drug into the hands of county officials, overdose victims now have a second chance.

“What’s impressive about the DuPage County Program (DCP) is the ease at which officers can be trained, it’s a very easy training program,” said David Hass, Spokesman for DuPage County Health Department. “To date we have 33 entities most of them police departments that have trained their officers, in DuPage County we have 1700 officers trained.”

Health officials and officers spoke out about merits of the program at a recent press conference at the DuPage County Health Department sharing the success they’ve achieved so far.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life and to reduce preventable deaths, and we see this as being extraordinarily preventable. The fact that we have actually realized 25 individuals whose lives were saved as a result to this program is very rewarding,” said Karen Ayala, Executive Director of DuPage County Health Department.

Helping with the program is Medical Trainer Rose Karg, who teaches officers how to use narcan, which is relatively easy to administer.

“The process is using an applicator with a vile of narcan medication and what we do is attach and admisier to that which turns the medication in a nasal application, so once you put that all together, you can go ahead and insert it into the persons nose,” said Rose Karg, Medical Trainer for DuPage Narcan Program.

The officers can then pass on that knowledge, training their own staff to use the drug.

Funding for the program primarily comes from the DuPage County Health Department. The program also recently received a generous gift from Oak Brook business man, Ed Heil, a man who lost his grandson to a heroin overdose.

“Today we are very fortunate, at our press conference a donor came forward with $50,000 donation of seed money that will help sustain the narcan program and future, said Hass.


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