Talk about good timing.
Three days after learning how to administer naloxone to an opioid overdose victim, a Will County auto mechanic put his new training to use when he saved the life of a man in Joliet.
“I fix cars, not people,” said Jerry Reeves.
Reeves said he was driving near Pilcher Park when he spotted the man lying on the parking lot. He said he approached the man and was told by a woman at the scene that the man was drunk.
But Reeves said the man was having a hard time breathing.
“I noticed from the signs he was actually overdosing,” Reeves said.
The woman eventually admitted the man on the ground had overdosed, according to Reeves. That’s when he said he retrieved Narcan from his vehicle and administered the nasal spray to the man.
Reeves waited a minute and could tell the Narcan was working.
“He was still having a hard time breathing, so I gave him the second dose in the other nostril,” Reeves said.
Reeves said the man soon woke up and was then driven to the hospital by the woman.
“It was a crazy experience for the day,” he said. “But I was ecstatic that they have something like this out there to help these people.”
Just three days earlier, he attended a free, one-hour Narcan training session taught by Dr. Kathleen Burke, Will County’s director of substance abuse initiatives.
“My heart is full of satisfaction and caring for the work I do and the people who come to my programs,” Burke said. “Jerry saved a life and that’s what I tell people it’s all about, is saving a life.”
Burke said opioid can prevent breathing. She teaches her students about the effects of opioids and how to administer Narcan during a one hour session.
“When you deliver that, it breaks the hold that the opioid has on the receptors on the brain and they start to breathe again and it saves their life,” Burke said.
A Will County spokesperson said Burke has trained nearly 2,000 citizens and distributed more than 1,700 boxes of Narcan.
The program is funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Services.
For more information on the training program, click here.