December 21, 2014

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Narcan revives Lorain overdose victim

LORAIN — After a year of work and months of waiting, police used Narcan to revive a county woman suffering from a heroin overdose for the first time on Tuesday.

Narcan — the formal name of which is naloxone — is a drug used to reverse the effects of heroin overdoses, bringing a person back to consciousness. For years, police in Lorain County could not legally use the drug on overdose victims.

However, because of legislation passed June 26, all police in Lorain County were equipped with a Narcan kit on Oct. 12 and allowed to use the drug in cases of overdose where police were the first responders.

On Tuesday afternoon, the kit may have helped them save a young woman’s life.

Lorain police Officer Bill Lachner received a call around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday of a 21-year-old woman unconscious due to a possible overdose on the 2300 block of East 29th Street.

Lachner said that the woman’s mother was performing CPR on her daughter on the balcony of their apartment.

Lachner and Officer Bryant Halsey arrived at the house, prepared with the Narcan kit and found the woman unconscious on the balcony with marks across her arms, evidence of heroin use, Lachner said. Since the two officers were the first responders at the scene, they had to administer the Narcan nasal spray immediately.

Lachner said the woman regained consciousness quickly and began waving her arms in confusion.

“She became combative,” he said.

LifeCare paramedics arrived seconds after Halsey and Lachner administered the Narcan dose and transported the 21-year-old to Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain.

Despite this being the first time police officers have used Narcan in Lorain County, Lachner said he wasn’t nervous about it.

“It’s a simple thing to use. … They’ve kind of dummy-proofed it,” he said.

Lorain police Officer Mike Giddich, who has been a big proponent of Narcan use by law enforcement, said that there are no charges pending for the 21-year-old overdose victim.

“The main goal (of Narcan) is to save lives,” Giddich said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.