Deputy uses NARCAN to save the life of someone who overdosed on heroin – for the second time in the last three weeks

An ACSO deputy was able revive a 30-year-old Kuna man who overdosed on heroin and methamphetamine by treating him with NARCAN early Sunday morning.

It marked the second time one of our patrol deputies used NARCAN (naloxone) nasal spray to reverse the effect of an opioid overdose since they began carrying it in some patrol cars in 2017.

It was also the second time in less than a month that our deputies had to use NARCAN to treat an overdose. In late November, deputies used naloxone to save the life of a 16-year-old girl who overdosed on heroin. We really hope having those cases so close together is a coincidence — not a sign of a developing trend.

Kuna Police were sent to an apartment in the 200 block of E. 2nd Street just after 5:30 a.m. Sunday after dispatchers got a 911 call reporting a possible overdose.

While Kuna Police officer Bryce Bienz drove directly to the apartment building, Ada County Sgt. Derek Savage, who was close by, went to the Kuna Police station on Boise Street to grab two doses of NARCAN.

Both arrived at the apartment building just before 5:40 a.m. and found an adult man lying on the ground. His skin was pale, his lips were purple, and he was barely breathing – all common signs of an opioid overdose.

Savage quickly deployed two doses of NARCAN to the man. His breathing began to improve moments later. It took about 13 minutes for the man to regain consciousness.

A Kuna Fire crew, who arrived moments after Savage and Bienz, took over care of the man and transported him to a local hospital for treatment.

There has been a lot talk about the “opioid epidemic” in Idaho and Ada County – but what that means can be hard to define. We know heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone are widely abused by all kinds of people – young and old, at all levels of society.

It’s rare that cases of people who survive overdose rise to the level of news because those cases are usually handled by paramedics or get treated in emergency rooms. They often don’t result in any kind of criminal charge, as the main focus is to save lives.

It’s hard to define the scope – although our deputies say they are becoming more and more common.

Just this past Wednesday morning, our deputies were called to investigate a report of an overdose in the 4000 block of Lonesome Lane in south Ada County. Paramedics arrived before our deputies and they had to apply NARCAN to revive a 27-year-old man who overdosed on heroin.

Ada County Paramedics don’t keep specific stats on opioid overdose calls, but have had to administer NARCAN over 70 times in 2018 on drug-related calls.

So far in 2018, 105 people died from drug overdose in Ada County, with 65 of those being strictly from opioids, according to Ada County Coroner’s Office reports.

The other 40 overdose deaths involved a combination of drugs, like opioids with methamphetamines or cocaine.

That’s why Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett decided to equip all nine K9 Deputies with NARCAN last year, and have it placed at the Kuna and Eagle police substations.

The last few calls demonstrate why that decision was so important. Any day we can keep somebody off the coroner’s list is a good day.

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