DuPage County Sheriff's deputies to start carrying Naloxone - FOX 32 News Chicago

DuPage County Sheriff's deputies to start carrying Naloxone

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John Kacena (Photo courtesy of Caroline Kacena) John Kacena (Photo courtesy of Caroline Kacena)
DuPage County Sheriff's cars. (Photo courtesy of Craig Wall) DuPage County Sheriff's cars. (Photo courtesy of Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Suburban police are taking a new approach in the fight against the heroin plague that took dozens of lives this past year.

We wanted to warn people right up front that some of the video and subject matter may be disturbing, but so is what's happening to families.

The DuPage County Sheriff's Department said there were at least 45 heroin-related deaths last year, which is why in the back of his vehicle, Corporal James Van de Voorde has a lifesaving weapon called Naloxone, or Narcan.

It's something DuPage County Sheriff's deputies will now carry with them in case they are the first person to arrive when someone is overdosing on heroin.

A situation that Corporal Van de Voorde has seen on several calls.

"It's just a real chaotic scene, they're trying to make you help them and there's not much we can do until the firemen show up," Van de Voorde said.

The Chicago Recovery Alliance posted a video on its website of Narcan being administered to save the life of a man overdosing on heroin. [WARNING: The video has very graphic images pertaining to drug use.]

Moments later the man is able to sit up because the drug blocks the brains receptors to opiates for about 30 minutes.

Having deputies carry the drug with them could be critical in the unincorporated areas of DuPage County where they patrol.

"Chances are we get to the scene before most ambulances, so we can recognize this, and possibly reverse the overdose and save a life," said DuPage County Sheriff's Department employee, Chief Alan Angus.

Naloxone is being seen in other areas of DuPage County as well.

Caroline Kacena of Naperville started a Facebook support group called ‘Open Hearts Open Eyes' after her 20-year-old-son John died of an overdose in 2012.

She now trains families of recovering addict how to use Naloxone, which they can legally have in their home in Illinois.

"I can give you lots of different stories too about in cases where family members have had Naloxone and have saved their loved ones lives even before the EMT's arrived," Kacena said. "This is just a great life-saving toolkit to have when you're struggling with this kind of addiction."

Now they are hoping that by arming their deputies with a lifesaving overdose blocking drug, they can help save lives.

The pilot program also involves several other police departments in Dupage County, including Bartlett, Hinsdale and Wooddale.

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