JOLT warns of overdoses, fatality reported in Peoria

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — A cluster of local overdoses within the last 24 hours is causing alarm.

JOLT Harm Reduction, a Peoria-based drug awareness, and harm reduction foundation, is stressing the importance of Narcan.

People want to say, ‘Well, just don’t use and you won’t be at risk.’ That’s just not the reality we live in. With these synthetic drugs, they’re really powerful. They hijack the brain, re-wire the brain so quickly that stopping is not an option for a lot of people.”

Chris Schaffner, Program Director of JOLT Foundation

The overdoses have been caused by substances like heroin, cocaine, and meth that are laced with fentanyl. JOLT employees said it is happening in the 61603 zip code.

So far, five overdoses have been reported in the area, with one fatality.

JOLT program director Chris Schaffner said he is worried the product has moved into central Illinois from Will County, specifically Joliet. There was an outbreak of fatal overdoses from the laced substances over the weekend.

“We know that Will County, so Joliet, had reported a number of overdose fatalities in like a 24-hour/48-hour period,” said Schaffner. “Usually when it’s up in the Chicago-land area.. that product will usually make it’s way down here. It just seemed like it was pretty quick and we wanted to get ahead of it.”

Narcan is an opioid anti-drug that reverses the effects of an overdose. The JOLT Foundation offers it for free. It’s located at 1411 NE Adams Street in Peoria.

“I would love to say don’t use it,” said Schaffner. “We’ve been saying that since the Reagan era, and it hasn’t slowed down drug use. And so we’re trying to keep people alive long enough where they can become healthier. Have the opportunity to become healthy.”

This story will be updated with a full interview from Schaffner.

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