Antioch police released bodycam video of officers saving an overdose victim. Here's why.
When his officers responded to three more overdoses last weekend -- the 15th, 16th and 17th of the year and all three involving teenagers who, fortunately, survived -- Antioch Police Chief Geoff Guttschow knew he needed to do more than issue the usual warnings about the dangers of opioid abuse.
So instead, he took to his department's Facebook page Tuesday and posted bodycam video of his officers responding to an overdose in January.
The dramatic three-minute video shows officers arriving to find a man unconscious and without a pulse. An officer quickly injects a dose of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan into the man's upper thigh, followed by another. The officer then begins chest compressions in a frenetic effort to save the man's life.
The good news is that the video has a happy ending: The overdose victim that day survived.
But as a text overlay of the video explains, that's not always the case. Of the 52 overdoses Antioch police responded to from January 2019 to Aug. 16 this year, eight were fatal.
While hard to watch, Guttschow said he hopes the video catches the attention of his community and others in the way a simple message cannot.
"There's an acknowledgment from most people that opioids exist in the community and that most communities experience opioid deaths and overdoses," he told us Wednesday. "But I think the image of what that truly means and can look like for a family member, it really drives a very impactful message home."
While the opioid epidemic has devastated individuals, families and communities across the suburbs for more than a decade, the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flooding of the drug supply with the synthetic opioid fentanyl has made matters even worse.
With another one this week, Guttschow said, his department has responded to 18 overdoses this year, 50% more than all of 2021. Oftentimes, he said, victims don't know that they're ingesting drugs laced with fentanyl because criminal drug networks are mass-producing counterfeit pills that look identical to common prescription drugs.
"These kids are encountering these things thinking that they're purchasing the actual prescription medications on the black market, but it turns out that that's not the case," he said. "They're laced with fentanyl, which, as we've all seen, the consequences can be very deadly."
As bad as it's been, Guttschow knows it would be much worse if Narcan was not standard supply for police officers and other first responders. In fact, he believes everyone should learn how to use the lifesaving drug.
"You just never know when you're going to encounter somebody who needs it," he said. "You may be out for a family dinner and the guy next to you goes into crisis. It may be difference between saving somebody's life or not."
Back to the video
The happy ending from the January video wasn't that the overdose victim was revived. Guttschow told us the man so far has taken advantage of his second chance to get sober, get a job and turn his life around.
The department reached out to him before posting the video this week.
"He was very happy to allow us to use those images and share his story to try to save someone else's life," Guttschow said. "He's mentioned to us he's been seeing the stories on the news about young people dying from these medications, and said if his story can save one person, he was happy to cooperate."
Social media fuels car thefts
If you zip around town in a Hyundai, or make your daily commute in a Kia, your vehicle may be at greater risk of being stolen. And social media may be to blame.
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart issued an alert this month warning of a massive surge in thefts of some models from those automakers.
According to the sheriff's office, 642 Kias and Hyundais were reported stolen in Cook County from July 1 to Aug. 11. That's a 767% increase from the same period last year.
And another 108 were stolen Aug. 12-18, the sheriff's office told us.
"This is an extremely concerning trend and the public needs to know so they can be vigilant in protecting themselves," Dart said.
The surge in thefts -- not just in Cook County, but across the country -- is being linked to a viral challenge on the social media platform TikTok. Videos being shared on TikTok, as well as YouTube, show how thieves can exploit a security flaw in some Kia and Hyundai models to start and steal them using as little as a screwdriver and a USB cable.
Want to keep your Sonata or Soul out of thieves' hands? Dart recommends installation of aftermarket immobilization devices -- also known as kill switches -- that make the vehicle inoperable without a separate key, if it's not already equipped with one. Alarms with motion detection, steering wheel locking devices or vehicle tracking systems also can help.
Owners living in Cook County also can sign a consent form on the sheriff's website, cookcountysheriff.org, that will allow law enforcement to quickly access location data from a carmaker for a vehicle that's been stolen. Those who sign up can get a sticker for their vehicles letting would-be thieves know that it can be tracked by police.
And regardless of what you drive, the sheriff says its best to park in a garage or in well-lit or high-traffic areas, if possible.
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