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Donation equips Lake County first responders with naloxone

Kaléo honored for role in countywide efforts to reduce opioid-related deaths

WAUKEGAN – On Feb. 27, the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center recognized Kaléo, a Virginia-based pharmaceutical company, for its donations of life-saving naloxone, a medication designed to reverse an opioid overdose.

Since 2014, Lake County law enforcement officers have saved 245 lives using naloxone, in addition to saves made by emergency medical service providers, according to a news release from the health department.

“We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis,” Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister said the release. “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 50.”

In 2017, there were 63 deaths from opioid overdoses recorded in Lake County, and law enforcement saved 92 lives using naloxone. 

Mark Herzog, vice president of corporate affairs at Kaléo, announced the company will provide the Health Department with 3,500 doses of its 2 mg naloxone auto-injectors.

Since 2014, the Kaléo Cares grant program has donated more than 10,000 naloxone auto-injectors to the Lake County Health Department.

The Health Department’s partnership with Lake County law enforcement includes multiple initiatives to prevent opioid deaths and help those with substance use disorders get into care. In cooperation with the Lake County Opioid Initiative, the Health Department trains law enforcement officers to administer naloxone.

The Health Department and Sheriff’s Office have collaborated to launch Crisis Intervention Team training to help officers respond appropriately to mental health crisis incidents. So far, approximately one-third of Sheriff’s Office employees have received the certification.

In December 2017, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office launched an initiative with the Health Department and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities to provide naloxone training to inmates approaching release from the Lake County Jail. 

“We know inmates with substance use disorders have a high rate of relapse,” Sheriff Mark C. Curran said in the release. “By educating them as they get closer to their release date, they’re better prepared. So far, we’ve had 19 inmates trained on how to use naloxone.” 

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