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Illinois reporting opioid-related deaths are down

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The Illinois Department of Human Services recently announced the state reported more opioid-related deaths than initially estimated, but it still represented the first drop since 2013 and a larger decrease than what they had expected.

The number of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2018 were 2,167, which represents a 21.6 percent reduction from the initial projection, according to Illinois Department of Human Services Assistant Secretary Kia Coleman.

Adams County EMS said they are using more Nacaran, the reversal of opioid overdose.

"We are using it more proactively knowing these overdoses exist in our community and we are trying to provide patient care, they can't communicate with us what they've done in the last hour, what their medical history is, it's another tool in our toolbox we can use to treat that patient," Adams County EMS Director John Simon said.

Simon adds that timing is key when it comes to emergency situations.

"The paramedic has to make their best judgement based the patient presentation, what limited information they may know about them and that may lead that paramedic to administer Narcan, " Simon said.

Simon added the number of potential overdose calls have remained steady for the past three years.

The state also reported more than 55,000 Narcan kits were distributed throughout the state and more than 3,000 overdose reversals have been reported.

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