Local officials encourage community to be proactive to prevent overdoses

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It’s a reminder everyone can use: be a good Samaritan even in the worst of times. 

“They can call 911 immediately, without any legal repercussions and they will save a life,” said Tony Ardis, Peoria Fire Department. “Point-blank they will save a life if they get the EMS people there.”

“I think we’re put in every place and every situation for a reason and I think we need to reach into our good Samaritan part of our soul, and help another individual,” said Jamie Harwood, Peoria County Coroner. 

In the past week, Peoria County has seen two drug related deaths. 

“I’m nervous about this because we haven’t had two deaths this close together since the spring,” Harwood said. 

Hardwood and Ardis say these deaths can be prevented.

“Timing is crucial,” said Ardis. “There’s no time to spare here. Brain death occurs in 4-6 minutes and what these people need is oxygen.”

“There are places to get help,” said Harwood. “There’s resources to get there, especially with the Jolt Foundation to go and get it, to know it’s out there. “

Their message is simple: if you see or are with someone who has overdosed, pick up the phone and dial 911 immediately. 

“The goal was to reassure them that there would be no legal repercussions if in fact they took that good faith effort,” Ardis said. 

Narcan is utilized to revive those who have overdosed. 

Most emergency responders carry that drug on them, which also helps with response times, but Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said that Narcan is actually available to the public as well.

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