Elk Grove Village Places Overdose-Reversing Medication in 20 Public Spaces to Prevent Overdose Deaths
As a measure to prevent opioid-related deaths, Elk Grove Village officials announced yesterday that it has become just one of few communities in the nation to make overdose-reversing medication available in public spaces.
Narcan, the brand name for a drug called naloxone, is a drug that can rapidly reduce the effects that opioids can have on the human body. Similar to the placement of defibrillators in public, the Narcan kits are designed so that anyone can administer the drug easily and effectively. Administering the drug via a simple nasal spray requires no special training or expertise, only the willingness to step in to help another in need.
The initiative is just one part of Elk Grove Village Cares, a broader strategy that the Village is implementing aimed at reducing opioid overdoses and deaths, connecting more addicts to recovery and treatment programs, building a community of support for addicts and their loved ones, and removing the stigma associated with opioid addiction.
“Elk Grove Village Cares is breaking new ground in our nation’s battle against the opioid epidemic and the disease of addiction. We’re leading the effort by developing creative solutions to this very complex problem,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig B. Johnson. “Placing Narcan kits in public spaces will save lives in Elk Grove Village because our residents step in and help others in need. It is part of the character of this community.”
Narcan kits are now ready to use at over 20 locations throughout Elk Grove Village. There are 5 private businesses, 4 fire stations, 2 public work facilities, 5 front counters, 2 churches, and AED boxes that now have Narcan kits available. There are 3 school locations in Elk Grove that have been trained and are currently waiting on the Narcan supplies. Remaining locations are awaiting pending approvals.
McDonald’s owner and operator Rich O’Keefe mentioned, “We’re proud to be a part of Elk Grove Village Cares because we think it can save lives, get more people the help they need and raise awareness of the devastating effects this epidemic can have on comminutes.”
Just like many other communities in the Chicago area and nationwide, Elk Grove Village has seen an uptick in heroin and opioid-related drug activity. In response to this trend, Elk Grove Village first responders began carrying Narcan in 2014. Paramedics have the drug available for overdose calls and police officers carry Narcan in their squad cars. Since they began carrying the medication, more than 20 individuals have been saved from potentially fatal overdoses. Of these 20, 8 individuals were saved in 2017, and 4 “saves” have occurred this year.
The Elk Grove Village Police Department designed the Narcan kits. Two doses of Narcan are contained in each kit, which come equipped with easy-to-follow instructions. On the theory that an individual who has just overdosed and has been saved may be open to get themselves into a recovery program. The kits also include contact information for nearby treatment centers.
More than 40 Village personnel have been trained on how to administer the drug as of yesterday. The Village has also provided training for private businesses that decide to display the kits in public.
The drug has no adverse effect on an individual that isn’t suffering from an overdose, meaning that if a good Samaritan administers Narcan to someone who isn’t overdosing, there will be no lasting, negative impact. And, good Samaritan laws protect individuals who are willing to help from potential liability.
“Just like defibrillators in public spaces have saved heart attack victims’ lives. Narcan in public has the same potential for those suffering from overdoses. I am proud that Elk Grove Village is taking the lead in equipping the public with the tools they need to save lives.” said Mayor Craig Johnson.