The Oak Park Department of Public Health is launching a new initiative aimed at preventing deaths caused by opioid overdoses.
Emergency opioid overdose boxes will be installed in seven easily accessible, public-facing locations throughout Oak Park. Each box contains several pouches with doses of naloxone and instructions on how to administer the potentially life-saving medication, which is designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The boxes will be accessible 24 hours a day, and anyone who wishes to take one or more of the free pouches may do so anonymously. Locations of the boxes are being determined based on local overdose data, and will be posted on the project webpage at www.oak-park.us/naloxone.
What is naloxone?
Naloxone, also commonly referred to as the trademarked name Narcan, is a safe medication that works to reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, prescription painkillers and fentanyl.
Individuals concerned that someone is experiencing a drug overdose should immediately call 911, administer naloxone following the easy-to-use instructions included with the kit and stay on scene until emergency responders arrive.
Naloxone has no adverse effects, even on children. Naloxone is an opioid blocker, so it will not have an effect, positive or negative, on anything other than an opioid overdose.
Addressing opioid overdoses
Oak Park is no different than many communities across the country that have seen an increase in opioid overdoses in recent years. In 2022, 151 people experienced overdoses in Oak Park throughout the course of the year.
Across the United States, more than 500,000 people have died since the 1990s from opioid overdose involving both illegal and prescription drugs.
Project expenses are funded by the Illinois Opioid Allocation Agreement, through which settlement funds from opioid manufacturers and distributors are distributed to states for use in combatting the opioid epidemic.
Anyone needing help with opioid use disorders, including families of anyone affected by the disease, can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 833.234.6343, a hotline hosted by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Find more information at www.ilhelpline.org.
More information about Oak Park’s naloxone program, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available at www.oak-park.us/naloxone.