The Oak Park Police Department is more prepared than ever to assist anyone experiencing an overdose caused by heroin or prescription pain relievers classified as opioids.
Officers and sergeants assigned to field duties now carry automated external defibrillator (AED) cases equipped with doses of Naloxone, a fast-acting drug that can save the life of an overdose victim by blocking the effect of opioids in the brain.
Oak Park firefighter/paramedics have been equipped with Naloxone since the 1980s and will continue to carry the drug for emergency situations. But police often are first on the scene and equipping them with the drug may mean the difference in life and death when seconds count, officials say.
Equipping officers with Naloxone also brings the Oak Park Police Department into compliance with a new state law that requires all police departments in Illinois to carry what experts call an opioid antagonist in an effort to reduce overdose deaths.
While opioid overdoses are not common in Oak Park, they do occur. Oak Park firefighter/paramedics administered Naloxone 43 times in 2015 and 46 times in 2014.
Officials say heroin users that purchase the drug in Chicago often seek a safe place to consume the drug in suburban communities such as Oak Park. The Oak Park Police
Department acquired the doses of Naloxone, often sold under the brand name Narcan, at no cost through a grant from the Cook County Overdose Prevention Program.
For more information on Oak Park’s community policing approach, visit www.oak-park.us/police.
Anyone needing help with opioid use disorders, including families of and anyone affected by the disease, can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1.833.2FINDHELP, a hotline hosted by the Illinois Department of Human Services.