Heroin overdose treatment used for sixth time by county deputies

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.

Wednesday, Aug. 20, at approximately 8:57 p.m., a sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a 911 call in the 400 block of Huron Drive in Machesney Park regarding an unresponsive female. Upon arrival, sheriff’s deputies determined that the 26-year-old female was possibly suffering from an overdose. She was unresponsive, and had very labored, shallow breathing.

The deputy, who had been issued Naloxone and received training in its use, administered the dose in accordance to his training and established guidelines. Upon receiving the medication, the victim began to regain consciousness, and her 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 she was being treated, she 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 emergency 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 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.

This is the sixth incident where a sheriff’s deputy has used this life-saving medication and training in the field for treatment of an overdose patient. Supplies for the kits that are being issued to deputies and the outlying police agencies are being provided by the sheriff’s office and were paid through the use of Drug Asset Forfeiture money. The cost of each kit is about $50.

Posted Aug. 27, 2014

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