By the Village of Oak Park – OAK PARK, Ill. — The Oak Park Department of Public Health is launching a new initiative this month aimed at preventing deaths caused by opioid overdoses.
Emergency opioid overdose boxes will be installed in seven (7) easily accessible, public-facing locations throughout Oak Park. Each box contains several pouches with doses of naloxone nasal spray and instructions on how to administer the potentially life-saving medication, which is designed to block the effects of an opioid overdose.
Most boxes will be accessible 24 hours a day, and anyone who wishes to take one or more of the free pouches may do so anonymously regardless of immediate need. Boxes will be installed on Village-owned light poles this month at the following approximate locations:
- Corner of South Blvd. and Harlem Ave.
- Corner of North Ave. and Ridgeland Ave.
- Corner of Randolph St. and Marion St.
- Corner of Washington Blvd. and Austin Blvd.
- Near the alley between parking lot 33 and 900 S. block of Humphrey Ave.
Boxes will also be installed at the following community locations:
- Oak Park Public Library – Main Branch; lobby (834 Lake St.)
- Maple Park; bathroom building (1105 S. Maple Ave.)
“There is no doubt that there is a real need for this type of resource,” said Oak Park Public Health Director, Dr. Theresa Chapple. “We are excited to be able to bring forth a program that is so accessible throughout Oak Park as we truly believe that this is a key step in working together to reduce opioid overdoses in our community.”
Naloxone, also commonly referred to as the trademarked name Narcan, is a safe medication that works to block the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, prescription painkillers and fentanyl.
Individuals concerned that someone is experiencing a drug overdose should immediately call 911, administer naloxone following the easy-to-use instructions included with the kit and stay on scene until emergency responders arrive.
Naloxone has no adverse effects, even on children. Naloxone is an opioid blocker, so it will not have an effect, positive or negative, on anything other than an opioid overdose.
Oak Park is no different than many communities across the country that have seen an increase in opioid overdoses in recent years. In 2022, 151 people experienced overdoses in Oak Park throughout the course of the year.
Project expenses are funded by the Illinois Opioid Allocation Agreement, through which settlement funds from opioid manufacturers and distributors are distributed to states for use in combatting the opioid epidemic.
Anyone needing help with opioid use disorders, including families of anyone affected by the disease, can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 833.234.6343, a hotline hosted by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Find more information at www.ilhelpline.org.
More information about Oak Park’s naloxone program, including a list of frequently asked questions and an up-to-date list of available locations, can be found at www.oak-park.us/naloxone.