Tazewell County Deputies Get Live-Saving Narcan - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Tazewell County Deputies Get Live-Saving Narcan

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office has a new weapon to save lives.

Almost 1900 people died of opioid overdoses in Illinois last year.

So far this year in Tazewell County two have died.

All sheriff's deputies are now carrying Narcan, a drug that counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioids. 

Police from around central Illinois are learning how to administer Narcan.

It's a simple nasal spray and is easier and safer than the injectable version. 

"If the ambulance is taking 15 minutes to get there and we can give that Narcan early, it has the potential to change from that person being dead to that person being alive," says trainer Joshua Jeffries.

For overdose victims, Narcan is safe.

They will feel the effects of withdrawal, but it can be life-saving. 

"If we can save one life then we've done our job," says Tazewell County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jeffrey Lower.

Common opioids like heroin, morphine and oxycodone aren't just dangerous for the user. 

Carfentanil is a powerful derivative of fentanyl.

While fentanyl packs 100 times the punch of morphine, carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful.

"You can actually overdose by breathing that. There have been incidents where officers testing drugs have actually overdosed themselves," says Chief Deputy Lower.

For that reason, Narcan will also be available in the Tazewell County jail and evidence room. 

The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office is paying for Narcan with drug seizure money.

Law enforcement pays a reduced price of $75 for a two-pack.

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