The RiverForest police department announced Wednesday that officers will be trained in the use of emergency nasal spray that counteracts the effects of heroin and other opiates.
Beginning in January, RiverForest officers will be equipped with nasal syringes containing the drug naloxone, commonly known as Narcan.
“Police officers are often the first emergency personnel to arrive on the scene of an overdose,” said Chief Gregory Weiss, in a statement. Weiss said officers would be able to administer the “opiate antagonist” immediately to reverse overdoses from heroin and opioid prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Sixteen states have legalized the administration of naloxone by non-medical persons to prevent overdoses. Illinois made it legal in 2010.
RiverForest sent officers to the DuPage County Department of Health to be trained in how to administer the drug, and train local officers. RiverForest will be among the first CookCounty police agencies to implement the program, according to Weiss.
Police departments in Oak Park, RiverForest and Forest Park are on the front lines of west suburban heroin usage because of their proximity to Chicago’s West Side heroin market. I-290 and Roosevelt Road have been dubbed ‘Heroin Highways’ because of the drug market that travels through the western suburbs.
“This tool is an important addition to the medical tools, like the AED [automated external defibrillator], that are carried by offices in their vehicles,” Weiss said.