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County program to address heroin overdoses

Published: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:42 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – Municipal police officers in Kane County soon could carry a medication that would help save people from overdoses of heroin and other drugs.

Under a Kane County Health Department program, police officers would be trained to administer Narcan, a trade name for Naloxone – a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses.

Barb Jeffers, executive director of the Kane County Health Department, told a County Board committee last week that an orientation was held in April, and she hopes to get officers trained and equipped with doses by this summer.

"If you look at the data, it's not going away," she said.

In a meeting earlier this year, Jeffers presented data on the number of heroin-related deaths in Kane County since 2009. At seven such deaths, 2010 recorded the lowest number. The peak was recorded in 2012 with 26 deaths.

The deaths have occurred throughout the county, including in St. Charles, North Aurora, Geneva, Batavia and Elburn.

Although emergency medical technicians already administer Narcan, Jeffers said, the new program targets police because they typically arrive on the scene quicker. Medics, however, still would be called, she said.

Jeffers said Kane County sheriff's officers already administer the medication.

The Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse certifies the trainers, Jeffers said. She said the county health department will provide the training and management of the Narcan program.

Officers will be allowed to carry only two doses of the medication at a time, Jeffers said.

Because of the way the program is set up, she said, the health department will be able to track the data.

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