PERRY COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health is receiving a $2 million grant to help combat the opioid crisis in 18 of the states most rural counties. They intend to equip all officers in selected counties with Naloxone so they can be prepared to take life saving measures in the event of an overdose according to a release provided by the department.
Perry County is one of the rural counties seeing some of the grant money. Sheriff Steve Bareis says it will help the department to be better equipped to stop regular overdoses in his county.
"According to hospital staff that I've talked to just locally we're seeing five overdoses a week. That's just reported ones."
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the opioid overdose death rate in the 18 counties receiving grant money has increased more than 50% in the past two years.
Jim Crowden is a recovered opioid addict and feels there could be some backlash to increased availability of Naloxone. He says he expects current addicts will see it as a safety net to continue using without fear of overdose.
Sheriff Bareis shares this concern. However he says he is seeing overdose victims needing more than one dose of Naloxone or Narcan to bring them out of their overdose.
Narcan is a different name for Naloxone with the same purpose and is available over the counter at Walgreens in Illinois and Missouri.