Officials in Lake and McHenry counties both have issued warnings about a recent spike in overdose deaths. In McHenry County, the increase was “significant.”
The McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition issued an alert Friday morning after they were notified of multiple overdose deaths that occurred between May 23 and June 5.
“The number of deaths was significant,” the coalition said in a statement, adding that the deaths have not been confirmed as opioid-related yet.
“However, we are very aware that in McHenry County most overdose deaths occur because of opioids, most often fentanyl,” the coalition added.
Laura Crain, the program coordinator for the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition, said that as of Friday there had been 15 suspected overdose deaths so far in 2022 in McHenry County.
She said the total number of deaths between May 23 and June 5 was less than 10 but could not publicly release the specific number.
The Lake County Health Department issued an alert Friday afternoon about an increase in opioid-related overdoses in Lake County that occurred over the weekend of June 4.
Lake County Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Newton said his office has been called to five overdose deaths in the first 10 days of June.
The health department said there has been a nationwide surge in unintentional polysubstance and counterfeit prescription drug use.
Unintentional polysubstance use occurs when a person takes drugs that have been mixed with other products, such as fentanyl, without their knowledge.
Lake County opioid overdose deaths rose 19.5% in 2020.
“Our community, like many others throughout Illinois, have been impacted by the opioid overdose crisis,” said Lake County Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister. “We must take steps to prevent overdose deaths and save lives.”
The Lake County Health Department said they are combating the opioid crisis in a multitude of ways, including the distribution of free Naloxone to community members and law enforcement personnel.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when used in time.
“Opioid overdose is preventable and may be reversible with quick action,” said Lake County Health Department Medical Epidemiologist Dr. Sana Ahmed.
“Naloxone is a safe and effective tool that is known to save lives and it can easily be administered into the nose by anyone, including friends, family, and, non-medical community members,” Ahmed said.
Those in Lake County who wish to obtain free naloxone can call 847-377-8199 or visit www.lakecountyil.gov/naloxone.
Residents in McHenry County who wish to obtain free naloxone can call or text the organization Live4Lali at 224-297-4393. Warp Corps in Woodstock also provides free naloxone.