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updated: 10/22/2014 8:08 PM

Prospect Hts. police save man from heroin overdose

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  • Prospect Heights police used a vial of Naloxone and a syringe on a 32-year-old man overdosing on heroin Tuesday night. It marked the first time officers administered the drug since training in early October.

    Prospect Heights police used a vial of Naloxone and a syringe on a 32-year-old man overdosing on heroin Tuesday night. It marked the first time officers administered the drug since training in early October.
    Mark Black/Daily Herald, August 2014

 
 

The front-desk clerk at a Prospect Heights motel heard a woman running down the hall, screaming for help.

Trying to find the source of the ruckus Tuesday night, the Motel 6 employee, who had been working on a nearby door lock, peeked into the third-floor room, where a 32-year-old man lay unconscious and "basically on his death bed," police said.

By Wednesday morning, the Northbrook man stood in front of Prospect Heights police asking for his belongings and crediting officers for saving him from a heroin overdose.

Weeks earlier, Sgt. Jerry Coglianese and patrol officer Milo Derman learned how to administer a shot of Naloxone, a drug that can reverse heroin and opiate overdoses.

Coglianese and Derman could recognize the signs of a heroin user when the 9-1-1 call came in about 9:50 p.m. Tuesday from the employee of the motel, 540 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Pale. Not breathing. Unresponsive.

Coglianese saw all three in the man, lying next to several needles police believe he used to shoot heroin in a room he booked at the motel. Coglianese began giving chest compressions.

Derman got there less than a minute later and asked, "Sarge, should I inject him with Narcan?"

Coglianese gave him the green light, and Derman delivered an intravenous dose of Naloxone into the man's shoulder.

"He kept his cool and knew exactly what to do," Coglianese said.

Within seconds, the man took shallow breaths.

"It was pretty weird to see it happen that fast considering the man was basically on his death bed," Coglianese said.

Paramedics followed with another dose and rushed the man to Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, where he was treated and released.

"These overdose victims -- they're somebody's sons and daughters, brothers and sisters," Police Chief Jamie Dunne said. "Hopefully by using these tools to keep them alive, then they can get help. It's a process to wean themselves off narcotics, but they can start in the right direction."

Police hope to give heroin addicts that fresh start by teaming up with community groups like Live4Lali, started by the family of a Buffalo Grove college student who died of a heroin overdose.

Live4Lali counsels other grieving families, educates students about drug addiction and trains law enforcement to use Naloxone.

After gains in Lake County, Prospect Heights became one of the first departments in Cook County to train with Live4Lali. Each squad car now comes with two syringes and a vial of Naloxone.

DuPage County, seen as a leader in the effort, has provided more than 1,700 officers with Naloxone, in the form of nasal sprays. The architects of the program say 25 people have been saved there so far.

The first in Prospect Heights introduced himself to police Wednesday as "the person you saved last night," Dunne said. Police don't yet know the relationship between the screaming woman and the man.

"We're just happy that this 32-year-old is with us today," Dunne said.

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