Suburban Hero: Naperville cop nets third lifesaving award for overdose revival
Naperville police officer Jason Duffy has revived overdosing opioid users several times and, in the process, won a few Lifesaving Awards -- but it's still not quite routine.
A 10-year veteran of the force, Duffy was one of the first two officers in the department to revive a person from an opioid overdose in early 2015, when officers were outfitted with the overdose antidote Narcan.
Three years later, he's revived users and received the Lifesaving Award two more times.
The area he typically patrols is north of the city's downtown along Ogden Avenue, where there is a concentration of hotels and motels and where police most often receive calls for overdoses, he said. But that experience doesn't make the situation rote for the 35-year-old cop.
"It's interesting how at the time, you don't know how this certain subject is going to react," he said.
When revived using Narcan, a nasal spray that knocks opioids off the receptors they stimulate in the brain and allows users to begin breathing again, Duffy said some people are grateful; others, not so much.
"You're going from almost a nonexistent pulse and little to zero respiratory rate, to sitting up looking around saying, 'Get out of my apartment,'" Duffy said. "We've seen it all, from the emotional, the 'thank yous,' to yeah, they're mad. I've seen them where they still deny it. A lot of times they don't remember the overdose."
To receive his most recent Lifesaving Award, Duffy helped two other officers revive a man on Jan. 11. It took three Narcan doses to get the man breathing again, one from Duffy, one from officer James Cottrell and one from officer James Koukal. The officers arrived shortly before the fire department and deployed their Narcan within about a three-minute span.
"He ended up pulling out of it right as the fire department arrived," Duffy said about the patient. "He was talking and wide awake. It was a team effort, which it usually is."
All three officers are among six on the Naperville force to receive the Lifesaving Award so far this year. Officers Jordan Koziel, Courtney Madden and Daniel Lukensmeyer also have been honored.
Reviving someone using Narcan isn't a golden ticket to the end of addiction; many who are revived continue using, and some need to be revived from multiple overdoses before seeking treatment or entering recovery.
"Saving a life is always a good thing. Someone can always turn it around; someone can always get better," Duffy said. "You never know if it'll be the time."
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