Suburban fire department taking extra step to reduce number of overdose deaths

A McHenry County fire department is taking an unprecedented step in the fight against fentanyl.

The fire department saw the number of overdose deaths increasing, and knew they needed to take an extra step — something that most departments aren't doing.

They are being trained on how to teach others to use NARCAN.

Most first responders carry NARCAN or Naloxone — the opioid antidote — but they don’t hand it out. 

The advocacy group "Live for Lali" is training first responders, public works officials and even some school nurses how to administer the drug. They will also be able to hand it out. 

When the Spring Grove Fire Protection District shows up to a drug overdose, many times the patient refuses to go to the hospital.

Now with this training, EMS will be able to leave behind the life-saving drug.


"We've recognized that we are leaving these overdose patients that we get back into a state where they are alert and oriented to where they refuse to be transported to the hospital, and they are being left alone and as we know overdoses are gonna happen again," said Chief John Rice of the Spring Grove Fire Protection District. 

In McHenry County, overall drug poisonings and suspected poisonings are down — but this summer, there has been a spike.