Chicago provides police with naloxone to deal with opioid overdose
CHICAGO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Police officers in the U.S. city of Chicago will now be provided with naloxone to save lives threatened by opioid overdose, its mayor said on Thursday.
"The expansion of naloxone to the police department is the next in series of aggressive steps taken by the city to invest in addiction treatment and services, but more importantly it will help save lives," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
In 2017, Chicago saw 7,527 people treated by first responders from the city's fire department with naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication.
The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in 2016.
Official data also show that 40 percent of all opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. involve a prescription opioid.
Of all Chicago residents who died of opioid-related overdose in 2016, African American residents account for 48 percent, white residents 34 percent and Latino residents 17 percent. Residents between the ages of 45 and 64 account for nearly half of all opioid-related deaths.
The opioid overdose epidemic has prompted federal and local authorities to launch campaigns with a series of measures to save threatened lives.