- Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 12:11 PM
SPRINGFIELD- Two years ago, in Bartlett, Johnny Dudek’s grandmother found him unresponsive in his bedroom. Dudek overdosed during a deadly month in DuPage County in which 11 deaths were caused by lethal heroin overdoses.
To prevent tragic deaths like Dudek’s, DuPage County introduced the first county-wide application of Narcan in the state. The DuPage County Health Department organized an effort to equip more than 2,000 people, largely local police, with Narcan at the beginning of 2014. The use of Narcan in DuPage County has since saved 49 lives.
State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is hoping to spread the success of this county-wide program by sponsoring Senate Bill 10, which would require state and local police officers, as well as fire protection personnel and firefighters, to be trained in administrating Narcan.
“We need to find a comprehensive solution to protect our young people from making fatal decisions,” said Cullerton. “Our first priority is to put protections in place to save lives.”
Narcan reverses the effects of overdose for heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, OxyContin and Morphine. The drug can be administered either by injection or nasal spray.
Throughout the nation, fatal drug overdoses have increased six-fold over three decades, claiming 36,000 Americans every year.
“Drug overdoses can happen to people regardless of their age, socioeconomic background or ethnicity. We have a way to save lives. It’s our duty to empower our first responders with the ability to prevent drug related deaths,” said Cullerton.
SB 10 passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support and will now move to the House for consideration.