Hope and disappointment.
They’re the two most common sentiments shared by leaders of suburban anti-heroin efforts.
An opiate overdose reversal drug called naloxone, also known as Narcan or Evzio, has made its way to police officers in most departments in DuPage and Lake counties. Efforts to expand its availability continue in Cook, Kane and McHenry counties.
First-responders using the antidote in DuPage saved 34 lives last year. In Lake County, 23 lives have been saved since December. In Kane County, sheriff’s deputies made their second save July 10, and McHenry County first-responders also recently made their first save.
“I’m not happy that we have people overdosing, but I’m ecstatic that we have had so much success in such a short amount of time,” Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said. “The whole purpose on the law enforcement end was to get this into police officers’ hands and start saving lives.”
Filenko helped start the Lake County Opioid Initiative in 2014 with three other people. The group, which helped equip officers with the heroin antidote, has grown to more than 200 members.
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