Deputies use Narcan to save overdose victim’s life

(Photo for illustration purposes) This photo shows how to administer Narcan Nasal Spray.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – With the increased use of fentanyl being added to heroin to make it more potent, overdoses have become a regularity in the Gila Valley . . . and so have the rescues. 

Early Friday morning, deputies were dispatched at about 12:47 a.m. to a residence on S. Lebanon Road regarding an unconscious male who had overdosed on opiates. 

Upon arrival, the deputies were taken to where the man was initially discovered, lying on the floor. A quick assessment showed the victim was not breathing and the deputies could not locate a pulse. For all intents and purposes, the man was dead.

A deputy then administered a dose of Narcan (naloxone HCI) Nasal Spray, which counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose. 

After administering the Narcan, the other deputy began doing chest compressions of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the deputies restored a pulse and got the victim to start breathing on his own. 

Paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance then took over care and the victim regained consciousness prior to being transported to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for further evaluation. 

According to Thatcher Police Chief Shaffen Woods, all of the local law enforcement carries Narcan Nasal Spray thanks to the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition, which provided the drug and showed how to effectively use it. 

During a Thatcher Town Council meeting March 18, Woods said having the life-saving drug not only helps the community at large but also protects officers who may be exposed to deadly levels of narcotics. He recalled an instance when a white powder substance was blown into the face of an officer and they used Narcan on him to counteract the opioid drug.