Quick-acting officer helps save the life of overdose victim

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: An officer performed chest compressions on an overdose victim until paramedics arrived with Narcan.

Woman overdoses on heroin with young child in back seat

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – The quick action of a Safford officer possibly saved a woman’s life who had overdosed on heroin July 18 after reportedly shooting up while being a passenger in a car.

According to a Safford Police report, the officer was dispatched at about 2:49 p.m. to an area on U.S. Highway 191 regarding an overdosed subject.

Upon arrival, a blonde female – later identified as the driver – waived the officer down and he noticed another female subject on the ground next to the car who didn’t appear to be breathing. A syringe was also located on the ground next to the woman.

The officer began chest compressions on the overdose victim and after about a minute he could hear faint breathing. He then checked and got a pulse.

Soon after, paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance arrived and administered a dose of Narcan to the patient and took over treatment. The patient was then taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for further treatment.

At the scene, the driver advised that she was giving the overdose victim and her daughter a ride when the woman began to shoot up heroin. When she noticed the woman was no longer alert, she pulled over and called for help. The woman didn’t know the age of the young child who was in the back seat but estimated her to be about 4 years old.

A search of the vehicle yielded a container that held a dark, chunky substance believed to be heroin and a clear plastic baggie of what appeared to be methamphetamine. The container was found in a purse the driver advised belonged to the overdose patient.

A further search of the car also yielded a zipper bag with two glass pipes and a plastic baggie that held meth. Those items were found in a second purse belonging to the driver.

The driver reportedly had constricted pupils and allegedly admitted to using illicit drugs as recently as the previous day. When she asked if she could leave, the officer informed her that he would not let her drive in her condition and recommended she call someone for a ride. The woman then called her parents, who retrieved her and the vehicle from the scene.

After contacting the Department of Child Safety, the officer took the young girl to McDonald’s and got her a Happy Meal prior to returning to the police department. There they waited for a caseworker to arrive.

Roughly one hour later, the caseworker called the officer and informed that she was going to interview the overdose patient at the hospital before responding to the police department to take custody of the child.  

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