Man saves brother after heroin overdose

A man saved his brother after he allegedly stopped breathing during a heroin overdose Sunday.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The scene was grim and all-too-familiar. Kade Alton Good, 33, was found in his room unconscious and not breathing Sunday morning; a spoon with apparent burnt heroin residue was nearby.

Good’s brother – the man who located him – immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and told his mother to call 911.

Good responded to the CPR and became alert; saved from certain death by the actions of his brother.

Officers and paramedics were dispatched to the scene on S. 12th Avenue at about 10:52 a.m. After assessing the patient, paramedics encouraged him to go with them to the hospital, but he refused. A family would not grieve the loss of a son or brother on this day.

The officer retrieved the spoon, which tested positive for heroin. He then forwarded his report for review.

In January, Governor Doug Ducey released the Opioid Epidemic Act, which is “a comprehensive and bipartisan legislative package aimed at combating the opioid epidemic and saving lives,” according to a news release at the time.

The release states the act addresses the opioid epidemic by expanding treatment, improving enforcement and oversight, preventing addiction, and reversing overdoses.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Arizona Governor’s Office: Governor Doug Ducey signs the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act in this picture taken in January.

The act also included a Good Samaritan Law, and, in April, Arizona became the 41st state to enact such a law that essentially shields people from arrest or prosecution if they help an overdose victim. According to the act, between June 2017 and January 2018, 812 Arizonans died of a suspected opioid overdose, 5,202 suffered a suspected opioid overdose, and 455 babies were born in Arizona addicted to opioids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

“We’ve all heard the first-person stories of individuals who have been impacted by this crisis,” Ducey said in a statement when he signed the act in January. “Many here today have been personally impacted. But there are so many other stories we haven’t heard – because the individuals impacted didn’t survive – more than 800 just last year. This bill is for them.”

Locally, there is an ongoing effort to bring a sober living facility and a rehabilitation facility to the area.

Other items in the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act include:

  • Identifying gaps in and improving access to treatment, including for uninsured or underinsured Arizonans, with a new $10 million investment;
  • Expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone for law enforcement or corrections officers currently not authorized to administer it;
  • Holding bad actors accountable by ending pill mills, increasing oversight mechanisms, and enacting criminal penalties for manufacturers who defraud the public about their products;
  • Enhancing continuing medical education for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Enacting a Good Samaritan law to allow people to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose;
  • Cracking down on forged prescriptions by requiring e-prescribing;
  • Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine;
  • And limiting the first-fill of an opioid prescription to five days for all opioid naïve patients and limiting dosage levels to align with federal prescribing guidelines. These proposals contain important exemptions to protect chronic pain suffers, cancer, trauma or burn patients, hospice or end-of-life patients, and those receiving medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

To read a more detailed policy of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act click here.