Sheila Haennicke’s son was on a Blue Line train in Chicago when he overdosed on fentanyl. The only thing that might have saved his life in the five minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive is naloxone, an emergency opioid overdose reversal treatment.
In the wake of her son’s death, Haennicke is part of a growing movement to make the nasal spray, commonly distributed as Narcan, available near public transit.
“If there had been Narcan on the platform or around the car, someone might have been able to grab it and help him,” said Haennicke.
Over the last few years, several US cities and states have started installing Narcan containers near public transit and equipping transit officers with the overdose antidote.
As the US opioid crisis continues, trains, buses and transit stations have become the sites of many overdoses. More than 150 people died from opioid-related overdoses on Chicago Transit Authority property between 2018 and 2022.