CHICAGO - More than 1,900 law enforcement officers in Cook County will be trained to use the opioid overdose drug Narcan.
Some of those officers were trained on Thursday to use the small nasal spray that can save a life during an opioid overdose. Officers are often the first to respond to and some have seen the effects of the opioid epidemic.
"We've been seeing a lot of different situations coming out of different affluent neighborhoods," said Sgt. Corey Cooper, Maywood Police Dept.
"What I find most troubling is that the ages are getting younger and younger. As young as high school age," said Lonell Whitlock, a narcotics investigator for the Maywood Police Dept.
A dose of Narcan to someone who overdosed on opioids can reverse the effect, if administered in time. On Thursday, Cook County officials announced 1,900 officers will be trained and equipped with Narcan.
"When seconds count, administering an opioid antidote like Narcan can literally mean the difference between life and death," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
These doses may save lives, and there is work being done to help these individuals beyond the crisis with cleaner, healthier lives. At Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, overdose patients are given options for treating the addiction when they come into the ER.
"The least we can do as an ER facility is provide the resources that people need and give them the means to get successful treatment," said Dr. Michael Antoniolli, an ER physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.
Dr. Antoniolli acknowledges that some may not be ready for recovery, but he and the staff realize they have an opportunity to try and prevent that patient from another potentially fatal situation.