The city has installed emergency overdose boxes in five public buildings around Evanston in an effort to help prevent opioid-related deaths and hospitalizations.

City officials say there’s not currently an opioid epidemic in Evanston, but in the last 19 months 174 residents ended up in hospital emergency rooms with opioid overdoses.

The overdose boxes contain two doses of Naloxone nasal spray and instructions on proper administration. Naloxone is life-saving medication that blocks the effects of an opioid overdose.

The boxes are located at the main library, 1703 Orrington Ave.; the Crown Center, 1801 Main St.; the Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd.; the Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., and the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, 1655 Foster St.

The health department says Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is a safe and effective medication designed to counter the potentially fatal consequences of an opioid overdose, including those stemming from substances like heroin, prescription painkillers, and fentanyl.

If you suspect someone is experiencing a drug overdose, immediately dial 911. If possible, follow the instructions provided in the Naloxone kit to administer the medication and remain on-site until emergency responders arrive.

More information about opioid-related issues is available on the city website.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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