ENON – Local law enforcement and EMS personnel were recently dispatched to an apartment in the 3700 block of Charlotte Drive in Mad River Township on a report that a young boy was running down the street and crying, “mom and dad are dead.”
Upon arrival at the scene of a suspected drug overdose, Clark County Sheriff’s Deputies found a male and female who were non-responsive. The male was cyanotic as well. Enon Police soon arrived to assist at the scene while sheriff’s deputies began administering a nasal form of the overdose-reversing drug, naloxone, commonly known by its trade name, Narcan.
The female victim, Carla Evalena Logan, was revived after she received four doses of Narcan and admitted to officers that she had taken a small amount of heroin. However, the male victim, Chad Drager, received six doses of the overdose-reversing drug, as well as CPR from the first responders, before a faint pulse was detected in his body. The couple was then transported to a local medical center where they fully recovered, thanks to the quick actions of the deputies and other first responders.
As drug overdoses soar nationwide, local law enforcement are now finding themselves on the front lines more often in an effort to save lives of those individuals who have overdosed on heroin, oxycodone, or other opioid prescription drugs.
According to Enon Police Chief Lewis Wilcox, this reality has been a real revelation for local law enforcement, and the village police department is now equipping village police officers with naloxone, which has been highly successful in reversing the fatal symptoms of heroin and pain-killing opioids overdoses. Experts say naloxone is a medication that works within minutes as it interferes with the opioid receptors and blocks the potentially deadly effects of these drugs. Wilcox stated that his officers are often the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency. Therefore, they need to be sufficiently equipped with the necessary tools to provide life-saving treatment before township paramedics and EMTs arrive.
“Minutes count when officers respond to an apparent overdose, and this drug can be the key to saving lives,” Wilcox said during an Enon Village Council meeting. “We had three drug overdoses reported in our community in 2016, and so far this year, we have had three overdoses, along with the double overdose we assisted at Charlotte Drive.”
The chief noted that all the incidents, wherein Narcan was deployed, were administered by other qualified agencies. However, he noted that all of the village police officers, including the two officers who were sworn into office during the council meeting, have now been trained in the proper administration of Narcan. According to Wilcox, the training included a video demonstration on how to administer the drug, reading materials related to the life-saving procedure, a practical training session that was taught by Paula Scott, a paramedic at Enon-Mad River Township Fire and EMS Department, and a short written test.
“We did not deploy Narcan until we were trained and ironically, the first time a village police officer administered the drug in the village was during the village council meeting,” Wilcox said
The Clark County Combined Health District is distributing the life-saving drug kits to the village police department, as well as other law enforcement agencies and emergency medical response teams throughout the county at no charge.
The Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (Ohio MHAS) is committing up to $500,000 each fiscal year to enhance access to naloxone. The state is using this funding to purchase naloxone, including complete Project DAWN (Death Avoidance With Naloxone) kits for distribution to county health departments. In turn, each county health department dispenses the kits to local law enforcement and emergency medical personnel.
“According to state law, officers have little to no liability because there is zero risk involved when deploying Narcan,” said Wilcox.
Wilcox said the village police department presently has four Narcan kits on hand, and the officer on duty carries one kit in the police cruiser when patrolling village streets during his or her shift.
The police chief stated that anyone exposed to prescription or illegal opioids should be aware of the risk factors that may lead to a life-threatening or lethal opioid overdose.
During the village council meeting, Enon Village Councilman Rick Hanna pointed out the fact that naloxone is sensitive to heat and should not remain in the village police cruisers, especially during the hot summer months.
Councilwoman Brenda Sweet suggested that the police department purchase and store the kits in coolers or ice caddies that would provide a storage environment that would prolong the effectiveness of the drug.
Wilcox also publically thanked Mayor Howard, Councilwoman Sweet, Police Officer Dwight Richard, and Paramedic Scott for their help and assistances in establishing this service to the citizens of the village.
“Unfortunately, it is very necessary that our village police officers are equipped with this life-saving drug at this time because part of our job is public safety,” Enon Mayor Howard said.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.