Arlington Heights funeral home to host naloxone training to prevent opioid overdoses

For a second year, an Arlington Heights funeral home will provide training next week to administer naloxone to help reduce the number of Illinois residents who die from opioid overdoses each year.

Jackie Glueckert, office manager and co-owner of Glueckert Funeral Home, said that while the need for such training reflects a sad reality, some welcome news is the number of opioid fatalities in the state is projected to fall this year.

"It's a good sign that people are either becoming more aware of it or taking action with naloxone," Glueckert said. "We're thrilled to receive such positive news."

During last year's week of naloxone training sessions, the funeral home displayed on 2,155 purple ribbons to demonstrate the projected number of opioid-related deaths in Illinois during 2018.

While the 2019 estimate was initially set at 3,300 deaths, that number was revised to 2,086, Glueckert said.

The approximately 75-minute training sessions will be at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, through Friday, Aug. 30, and again at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 at Glueckert Funeral Home, 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights.

No appointments are required, and free naloxone kits will be provided by the local nonprofit Live4Lali.

The week's efforts will culminate with International Overdose Awareness Day on Saturday, when the funeral home will provide resources, networking and hepatitis C and HIV testing from 6 to 7 p.m.

A candlelight vigil from 7 to 8 p.m. in the parking lot will remember the lives lost from accidental drug overdoses.

Last year, 125 people attended the training sessions. For staff members, who have been deeply affected by the number of families they've served after overdose deaths, the level of community interest was most welcome, Glueckert said.

"We had a great turnout for something we didn't know how it would turn out," she added. "We were blown away by the people who came out in the community."

The stories told demonstrated the range of those concerned about overdoses, Glueckert said.

A home physical therapist said she never knows what she's going to encounter on her appointments, including with elderly clients who may forget whether they've already taken their medication on a particular day, Glueckert said. A man reported his wife was on opioids for chronic pain and that he was concerned her tolerance might change as she gets older.

For more about the training sessions and other activities next week, call the funeral home at (847) 253-0168.

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