A heroin overdose, captured by a newsnet5.com camera, highlighted the growing epidemic. A Lorain woman, rescued from a heroin overdose Friday night, had first responders and Narcan, or Naloxone, to thank.
The nasally-injected opiate antidote treats heroin overdoses. Lorain Police have been stocking it since 2013 and have saved at least 75 people.
Newsnet5.com reporter Derick Waller rode with Lorain Police Patrolman Brent Payne on Friday night, to see the problem from their perspective.
Just minutes into the ride, a dispatcher called Payne to a Colorado Avenue gas station, where a 48-year-old woman was reported unresponsive inside her car.
Upon arrival, officers administered Narcan. Paramedics took the woman to Mercy Hospital, as police investigated the scene. They found needles, syringes and a spoon used to cook the heroin inside the vehicle, along with the heroin itself.
Without that drug and a quick response from officers, Payne said the woman could have died.
"Very possible, very very possible,” he said.
But since Narcan has come on the market, it’s also come under fire from critics who said the antidote enables addicts to keep using. Earlier this month, a couple could be seen on surveillance video inside a Fairview Park McDonald’s overdosing on heroin before injecting Narcan just seconds later.
"It goes way beyond the person who's actually doing the drug,” Payne said. “It's family members that are standing around and are completely helpless, to help their loved ones that's on the ground, so when we come in and we have the ability and the tools to help, that's what being a police officer is all about.”
While Payne acknowledged there were few easy solutions, he did suggest stiffening penalties for heroin dealers.
“A lot of them are out on bond right now and they go back to doing the same thing,” he said. “Now it’s time for the justice system to do their part."
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