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Fri February 21, 2014

A collaborative effort among DuPage County leaders resulted in the formation of the DuPage Narcan Program (DNP) to address the ever-growing heroin epidemic our community and nation is facing.

The DNP's core mission is to save lives by ensuring law enforcement has the required training in the use of Narcan, a non-addictive drug that can reverse the potentially fatal opioid overdose. Over the last year and a half, DuPage County has recorded one heroin death every 8.5 days, with over 87 heroin deaths documented within the County within the last 24 months. "This epidemic is all over our county, affecting every city and age group, leaving no pocket" explains Richard Jorgenson, DuPage County Coroner.

After learning of the severity of this health issue in late August, community leaders acted quickly and strategically to create the DNP by September. The first round of trainings commenced in November. The DNP is comprised of community leaders including the DuPage County Chairman, DuPage County Coroner, DuPage County State's Attorney, DuPage County Sheriff, DuPage County Chiefs of Police Association, and the DuPage County Health Department.

The DNP has developed a customized program to train officers in the use of Narcan and also supplies the product to these first responders. All aspects of the DNP have been approved under the authority of the Illinois Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA). As a result of these efforts, over 1240 officers will be trained and deployed with the life-saving Narcan by May.  

DuPage County is proud to be leading the way in addressing this important health issue by DNP being the first county-wide application of this initiative in the State of Illinois. "Public health is not just within our four walls, but in the strong partnerships we have with these community and other leaders that make it possible to realize outcomes", states Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department.

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