Online Staff Report
During the week of June 9, Winnebago County sheriff’s deputies began carrying Naloxone, or more commonly known as Narcan, after receiving training in its administration, to help combat the growing numbers of heroin overdose-related deaths in Winnebago County.
At approximately 8:02 p.m., Thursday, June 19, a sheriff’s deputy responded to a 911 call in the 6700 block of Harrison Avenue regarding an unresponsive male. Upon arrival, sheriff’s deputies, who were arriving with personnel and a fire truck from Cherry Valley Fire Department, determined the 24-year-old male was possibly suffering from a heroin overdose. He was unresponsive, and had very labored, shallow breathing.
The deputies, who had recently been issued Naloxone and received training in its use, administered the dose in accordance to their training and established guidelines. Upon receiving the medication, the victim began to regain consciousness, and his breathing returned to a normal rate and quality in less than a minute.
An ambulance and crew arrived on scene a short time later, and they assumed patient care. The patient was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and treatment, but as he was being loaded into the ambulance, he was beginning to talk to medical personnel.
In the past, when a deputy arrived at a scene of an overdose, there was not much they could do until fire or EMS personnel arrived, as this drug could only be administered by trained medical personnel through an injection. Changes in Illinois law have allowed basic first aid-trained responders, like sheriff’s deputies, to now administer the medication.
The new method of delivery is through an “atomized” (mist) spray into the nasal passages of the patient. This incident shows that having deputies carry the medication with them is critical in Winnebago County.
Though most of the unincorporated areas have full-time medical personnel within their fire districts, they are subject to being on a prior call or a deputy may be closer and may arrive first on the scene and be able to administer the drug, if needed.
All of the municipal police agencies outside of the City of Rockford have expressed an interest in this program, and will be provided with the same opportunity to receive this training and overdose kits for their officers as well.
Supplies for the kits that are being issued to deputies and the outlying police agencies are being provided by the sheriff’s office and will be paid through the use of Drug Asset Forfeiture money. The cost of each kit is about $50.
Posted June 20, 2014