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Saving lives in the stacks

J.B. Pritzker visits Peoria

PEORIA, Ill. - People typically think of going to libraries to check out books but they're more commonly becoming a place where opioid overdoses happen.

“We've had at least one suspected overdose here in the building,” said Jeff Brooks Director of The Pekin library. He adds, “We've had a couple of arrests, and had some drug activity too.”

Earlier this year library employees were given the option to get trained on naloxone, the drug that can reverse overdoses.

Brooks said he believes in the Pekin staff, “We have enough supervisors to be able to take care of those individuals and that's what we really signed up for when we became librarians, to help our customers anyway we can.”

During a visit to Advanced Medical Transport Monday Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker learned that training is increasingly needed in Illinois. AMT has seen a 74% increase in the number of overdoses this year.

Pritzker believes reducing overdose deaths in Illinois begins with education and helping those dealing with drug addiction.

Pritzker said, “You've got to start at the beginning where people get addicted.” He adds, “By fully funding our safety net, making sure that we are providing those mental health services, that we are catching people who would otherwise self treat and instead get them into the mental health system.”

Last week Governor Rauner launched a 24 hour hotline, for people across Illinois to help provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances.

To reach the helpline, individuals can call 1-833-2FINDHELP.

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