With heroin deaths a rising concern in the suburbs, one organization plans a fundraiser this weekend to benefit a group that distributes free doses of naloxone, a drug that can help prevent deaths from overdoses.
The group JA2SOON (Don't Roll the Dice with Your Life) is sponsoring a 70-mile motorcycle run Saturday through country roads beginning in Crystal Lake and ending in Sycamore.
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The ride will support the Chicago Recovery Alliance Naloxone Fund, which provides the drug, often at no charge, to drug users and their family members and to other organizations.
Terri Dudar of Carpentersville, one of the founders of JA2SOON (Don't Roll the Dice with Your Life), was trained on how to administer naloxone through the Chicago Recovery Alliance after her son died of a heroin overdose in 2008.
"Through me educating myself on the subject, I learned about naloxone and I decided that if we can save lives, that's what we want to do," Dudar said. "Fifty percent of overdoses are able to be turned around and saved, and that's big."
Faith McGehee, also a founder of the group, was also trained on how to use naloxone. She said it's important to have the ability to help someone if the need arises.
"If I came across somebody or my loved one that I felt was overdosing, I wanted to be able to save their life," McGehee said. "This drug reverses an overdose, and if you catch them in time, that saves their life."
Naloxone use has become more prominent recently in the suburbs, especially in DuPage County. Through a countywide initiative to combat heroin deaths, police officers were trained and equipped with naloxone in case they came across someone overdosing. As of June 10, there were 11 heroin-related deaths in DuPage County this year, but there also were 11 lives saved with naloxone, according to heroindupage.org.
Another suburban organization, Live4lali.org, recently held a fundraiser to raise money for naloxone. Area Chili's restaurants donated 15 percent of profits from customers who presented a Live4lali.org flier. Chelsea Laliberte of Palatine, founder and director of Live4lali.org, is excited to see how much is raised from the fundraiser, which ended Thursday.
Dudar said because of the Chicago Recovery Alliance, her group has trained people who need naloxone without charging them.
"We have not been charged for our naloxone. They never turn anybody away." Dudar said. That's why we felt it was important to raise money for them."
Registration for Saturday's motorcycle fundraiser begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Crystal Lake. There is a $15 donation per run packet plus a $5 donation for each passenger. The run is slated to begin at 11 a.m.
A party at the end of the route will be at the Sycamore Odd Fellow Lodge in Sycamore. The party will feature classic rock from the band STORMCROW as well as prizes.
Resource tables with members of Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing will be available to help parents and friends of victims.
Free training in the use of naloxone also will be available.
"If somebody wants to be trained, we train them," Dudar said. "We hope that if the time comes, they're able to save their loved one's life."