Officer revives overdose victim with Narcan nasal spray

An officer utilized his department-issue Narcan nasal spray to administer to an overdose victim at the Tour Rest Motel on Friday.

Stranger leads police to victim while victim’s ‘associates’ flee the scene

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – A man apparently overdosing on some sort of opiate Friday night likely had his life saved by the reaction of a stranger, the quick thinking of a Safford Police officer, and the department’s decision to carry Narcan nasal spray. The department carries Narcan to administer to overdose victims and for other officers in case they are accidentally exposed to an opiate.

Narcan is the only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone, which blocks and reverses the effects of opiates. The spray was developed for use by first responders, family, friends, and caregivers of those with opioid addiction to save lives. It is available over the counter without a prescription. While the spray is intended to reverse an opiate overdose, victims should still seek out medical assistance from professionals.      

Officers were dispatched to the Tour Rest Motel at 110 W. 5th St. regarding an overdose victim. Upon arrival, a respondent showed them where the victim was lying in a bathtub, his face and lips turning blue.

The responding officer administered a dose of Narcan nasal spray and shortly thereafter the victim came out of his stupor and became alert. 

The respondent informed the officers that she had heard a  man and woman arguing in the adjoining room and when she went to see what the commotion was the couple was fleeing the room. The couple allegedly said they couldn’t be there when the police arrived and left their acquaintance in the bathtub to fend for himself as he was comatose and not breathing.

Governor Doug Ducey previously signed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act on Jan. 25 2018, and it went in effect April 26, 2018. While the 69-page act addresses many issues, including sober living homes, education for medical students, prescribing of opioids and more, the act also created a Good Samaritan provision, which excludes those seeking medical help from prosecution for drugs or drug paraphernalia located by police at that time.

Narcan nasal spray was developed for use by first responders, and friends and family members of those with opiate addiction to counteract the effect and save lives from deadly overdoses. It is available over the counter without a prescription.

Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3423 deals with the prohibited prosecution of Good Samaritans. It states, “A person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for someone who is experiencing a drug-related overdose may not be charged or prosecuted for the possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia or a preparatory offense if the evidence for the violation was gained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance.”

 Section B continues, “A person who experiences a drug-related overdose, who is in need of medical assistance and for whom medical assistance is sought pursuant to subsection A of this section may not be charged or prosecuted for the possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia if the evidence for the violation was gained as a result of the person’s overdose and need for medical assistance.”

The victim was evaluated by paramedics with Lifeline Ambulance who arrived at the scene and was then transported to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for further treatment.

There are a variety of local institutions which assist those seeking recovery from drug use. Read more about Community Medical Services, Awakening Recovery Center, or Canyonlands Healthcare Safford by clicking on their links. Additional information can also be had by contacting the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition, which encourages friends and family to carry Narcan to save lives which can be turned around from the scourge of drug addiction.   

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