Coroner Rob Russell, Vicki Foley, Daryl Pass
Coroner Rob Russell, Vicki Foley, Daryl Pass

Life Saving Efforts at the Kane County Coroner's Office

Kane County Connects Staff 6/6/2024 2:00PM

​St. Charles resident Vicki Foley lost her son Chris in 2007. He was 27 years old and died of a heroin overdose. Since then she has been a tireless advocate for opioid awareness. 

This year, Foley joined the outreach efforts at the Kane County Coroner's office as a community liaison. She is in charge of finding ways to educate people about the use of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan and widely distribute it.  She has funding to install six Narcan vending machines across the county and hopes to place some in local libraries. These machines will provide safety kits to individuals who use drugs, know someone who does, or can recognize the signs of an overdose.

“Our efforts have been very well received," said Foley. “Awareness about Narcan is up and the stigma surrounding its use is down."  

In 2023, Naloxone or Narcan was used to reverse a suspected overdose in Kane County a reported 95 times. Naloxone use frequently goes unreported. Also, in 2023, 17,842 doses of naloxone were distributed to Kane County first responders, organizations, agencies, businesses, and the public.

As part of her outreach, Foley will be attending farmers' markets, festivals, and other community events in towns both big and small this summer. Foley says it gives her an opportunity to listen to people who want to share their personal stories about someone they know who is struggling with substance abuse or to discuss their own struggles.

“Talking is healing to them, and I'm happy to listen," said Foley.

Foley and the Coroner's Office have joined forces with Daryl Pass, Senior Manager of Recovery Support Services with the Kenneth Young Center in Schaumburg. He has helped to put Narcan vending machines in the Elgin Police Department and the Kane County Sheriff's office. He says in one month, he has had to refill the machine in the lobby of the Sheriff's office three times; the machine holds 54 boxes.

“People understand it's a tool that works, that's easy to use, and now it's available to them, free of charge, no questions asked," said Pass.

Pass has been sober for 12 years and has spent the last five years working directly with people suffering from substance abuse and those who suffer alongside them. Along with the two sober houses he supports, he also volunteers as a Certified Recovery Support Specialist at local hospitals. It's there where he has boots on the ground and is able to steer people towards a meaningful recovery after an overdose.

Foley's position was made possible through a grant secured by Kane County Coroner Rob Russell.

"No matter how many fatal overdoses we handle, it never gets easier," said Russell. “This is the most frequent form of preventable death I deal with and I'm glad to have Vicki and Daryl working with us to lower those numbers," said Russell. 

The Kane County Health Department has launched an opioid awareness campaign called “Your Story Matters." Learn more at Kane County Health Department's Opioid Awareness page. The website also lists other locations in Kane County where free Narcan is available.


Tags: Around Town Community Community Involvement Families Featured Kane Government
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