Increased access to Narcan saving lives

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — Police saved lives less than a week after being certified to give an anti-overdose drug.

Illegal pills going around could be deadly. Police say hydrocodone sold on the street caused two people to overdose in less than 24-hours. They believe it could be laced with another opioid.

Narcan saved both people. Police have just started carrying Narcan. Officers were certified earlier this month. Now, every officer has nasal Narcan with them when they’re on duty.

It came in handy last week. Police say having it is a great idea, but it wasn’t their idea. You can’t get better if you’re dead.

“Our goal is to help people stay alive and find their chance for recovery.”

So, Narcan is paving the way.

“Narcan blocks the effects of opioid drugs.”

That’s why CUPHD wants to put it in the hands of as many people as possible.

“First responders, emergency room staff, mental health providers, active drug users, friends and family of active drug users, anyone that knows active drug users.”

Even people in different counties, including Coles, reached out to MPD earlier this month, to train its officers to use Narcan and providing them all with it. Previously, MFD handled overdoses.

“They basically just call us. With them having it now, it kind of speeds up the process.”

It’s all thank to an overdose prevention grant the health district got this summer.

“It’s become a hot-button issue because more and more people are overdosing on prescription painkillers. It’s not just heroin, the street drug. It’s also Percocet, hydrocodone, vicadin.”

Some people say Narcan enables addiction, but statistics show opioid use hasn’t gone up since Narcan became available. Plus, deadly overdoses have gone down.

“So, we’re not finding that, just because Narcan might be in the community, they’re looking at this as an opportunity to use and know that they have kind of a safety net.”

Instead, saving lives like they did in Mattoon is the goal.

“It’s great to know that something we’ve been working on for awhile now has actually born fruits.”

CUPHD will train you and give you free Narcan and you don’t even have to be in Champaign County. They do ask people to call 911 afterwards just to make sure the person is okay.

The next scheduled training is Wednesday night at the Douglas County Health Department. 

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