Right approach for using opioid antidote

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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I want to thank Police Chief Thomas Weitzel and Fire Chief Matthew Buckley for their compassionate and logical stance on the use of naloxone (Narcan) by our local first responders ("Riverside chiefs: We'll continue to use Narcan," Opinion, Sept. 20).  

Landmark readers should know that deaths related to opioids have surpassed those related to gun violence or motor vehicle accidents in Cook County. In 2015, deaths related to opioids in Cook County were more than 640; by 2016, that number had surpassed 1,000. 

In the past two and a half years, deaths related to heroin or fentanyl (a powerful synthetic heroin-lick drug intended for hospital use but increasingly found in street drugs) for Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside were at least 12 according to the Cook County Medical Examiner.  

These are our family members, friends and neighbors. My wife and I have raised our three children in Riverside. All three have had friends whose lives were either significantly impacted or ended by these drugs, which have very powerful addictive properties. 

A reality in public health is that you cannot get a person into rehabilitation who is dead. Thanks to our first responders and their leadership for this correct, courageous, and moral approach to serving and protecting our community.

Jay Shannon, MD

Riverside

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