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Mount Prospect Police Begin Carrying Naloxone for Opiate Overdoses

Thu January 12 2017 8:07 am
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Mount Prospect police officers now have the ability to administer potentially lifesaving medication to patients experiencing opiate overdoses. In cooperation with the DuPage County Public Health Department, several members of the Department attended a train-the-trainer course and subsequently conducted training with all sworn personnel during the month of December.

“We are pleased to join other first responders, including the Mount Prospect Fire Department, equipped with this potentially lifesaving measure,” said Police Chief Tim Janowick. “Our police officers will now be able to react and administer this medication when encountering a person believed to be experiencing an opiate overdose.”

The Department purchased naloxone for all of its sworn personnel through the DuPage County Department of Public Health. Officers will dispense the medication nasally after assessing the situation. Once the naloxone is administered, patient recovery from the overdose is generally very quick.

Naloxone counteracts life-threatening depression of the central nervous and respiratory systems, allowing the patient to breathe normally. Naloxone only works if opiates are present in the patient’s body. A patient experiencing a different medical event would not be adversely affected by the administration of naloxone.

“The opiate addiction is a very real problem for the entire Chicago metropolitan area and across the nation,” Chief Janowick continued. “Mount Prospect is not immune. Studies show opiate addictions often start with the abuse of prescribed opiate-based medications and transition to the use of heroin. By administering this medication, police officers will be able to give a patient a chance to fight their addictions after recovering from an overdose.”

To reduce the risk of a gateway to addiction, the Mount Prospect Police Department strongly encourages residents to take advantage of events such as the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s Drug Take-Back Days to dispose of unused or expired medication, particularly those with addictive tendencies.

Police and firefighter/paramedics nationwide have been warned recently about being exposed to illegal drugs contaminated with Carfentanil. Inhaled powder from the drug, spilled on a victim’s clothing or at an emergency scene could potentially incapacitate and kill rescuers. Many police officers nationwide are assigned to bring naloxone kits to the scene of an overdose and administer the dosage from a kit. Firefighter/paramedics for many years have been called to attempt to revive victims of narcotic overdoses with naloxone.

Fentanyl, and its related compounds, come in several forms including powder, blotter paper, tablets, and spray. Fentanyl is about 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. The naloxone antidote might bring an overdose victim rapidly out of a heroin overdose, but one antidote dose for fentanyl might not do anything on the first dose. Several antidote does might be required. Drugs contaminated with Carfentanil might be impossible to remedy with available resources of antidote. The narcotic Carfentanil is intended for large mammals, like elephants, deer, and moose. Normal dosages of Carfentanil can even accidentally kill a moose. In a study of 92 free-ranging moose, the average time to immobilize a moose was 5 minutes with at least 3 mg of WILDIL (Carfentanil citrate). The dosage of the Carfentanil was as little at 0.006 to 0.014 mg/kg body weight of the moose. Accidentally, six of the moose died in the study.

There were over 500 heroin and fentanyl deaths in Cook County in 2015. In 2016, there were two notable deaths in Cook County related to fentanyl analogues. A 35-year-old Lake Zurich man, who died somewhere in Cook County, is one of the first people known to die of an overdose due to a specific fentanyl analog. Also, a 46-year-old Chicago man died of an overdose connected to Carfentanil.

Fentanyl analogs are also known to have killed hundreds of people throughout Europe and the former Soviet republics. Use began in Estonia in the early 2000s during a heroin shortage, and novel derivatives continue to be discovered by researchers. Estonia has the highest death rate from drug overdoses in Europe. The slang term for fentanyl analogues is China white, Persian white or Afghan. The misnomers are intended to be intriguing cover for a killer powder synthesized in clandestine labs nearby in Russia. Another slang name for fentanyl analogues is flatline. Currently Fentanyl and analogues are in the lists of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs as defined by the United States Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs have currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Schedule I drugs have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and have no accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

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