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Public health boss: Illinois needs Narcan shots

By Benjamin Yount 
Illinois News Network

Illinois is getting 4,000 doses of the opioid overdose medication Narcan and the state’s public health director says Illinois needs every single one of them.

Most of the doses of Narcan that are being donated by Adapt Pharma are going to state troopers and parole officers in Illinois.

In the field, that’s where Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah said they’ll do the most good.

While 4,000 doses may sound like a lot, Shah said that’ll just keep up with the need.

“In 2016, nearly 2,000 people across the state of Illinois died of opioid overdoses,” Shah said. “And very preliminary numbers show that roughly the same number will have died in 2017.”

That’s almost twice as many people as those who died in car wrecks in Illinois.

And Shah said new synthetic opioids are making the fight tougher.

“Law enforcement officers, first responders, and others are finding now that they need to use multiple doses of Narcan when trying to bring someone back to life,” Shahs said.

Adapt Pharma is also donating Narcan doses to a few local governments. McHenry County’s Substance Abuse Coalition will get 1,000 doses. Chicago’s Recovery Alliance is in line to get 600 doses.
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