Narcan Nasal Spray (Block Club Chicago)

The Village of Oak Park recently rolled out five boxes of opioid overdose kits throughout the community with more to come in the near future. And so far, the kits are working as intended. Half the kits have already been taken.

“There were 30 kits out and 15 were distributed in the first week,” said Chelly Richards, a community health advisor with the Oak Park Public Health Department.

The five boxes were installed May 15. Each box was stocked with six kits and each kit contains fentanyl test strips and the overdose reversal drug Narcan, with instructions for how to use both; Narcan is a nasal spray administered the same way as allergy nasal sprays. The kits also contain cards from the Illinois Helpline, a public resource that connects people to substance use treatment and recovery services.

The boxes will be restocked regularly. Village President Vicki Scaman keeps a kit in her car.

“Nobody should ever die from an overdose,” she said. “Anything that we can do to prevent it should be the mentality that we have always.”

The Oak Park Township also stocks Narcan for public distribution, as well as offering a recycling receptacle for unused or expired medications. Both are drug abuse prevention initiatives.

“If anyone were to open up their medicine cabinet and take a look, they might have some things in there that are pretty old,” said Kelly O’Connor, the township’s prevention services manager.

All drugs can be safely discarded of through the township, whether pain medication from an operation or betablockers for anxiety. If pills are sitting unused in homes, they may fall into the wrong hands.

“It’s better to get them out of there and it’s better to dispose of them properly, not just throw them in the garbage,” said O’Connor.

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