For the second time in as many months a Holly Springs police officer working with paramedics administered a life-saving dose of naloxone to save a person from a heroin overdose..
Sergeant Nathan Ernst saved the life of a 24-year-old man believed to be overdosing on heroin Sunday morning, according to Holly Springs police.
Ernst responded to a call around 9 a.m. that a person was unconscious and not breathing. He gave the naloxone, now carried standard by the department’s officers, for the paramedics to administer.
After being given the drug, which functions by essentially reversing opiate overdoses, police said the man began breathing and regained consciousness. He was transported for further treatment.
Ernst made headlines last month when he became the first officer in Georgia to use naloxone. He saved a 24-year-old woman from a similar situation June 6, just days after he and the rest of his department were trained and began carrying the naloxone kits, which have been used by medical personnel for years.
This comes largely as a result of efforts by Holly Springs police Lieutenant Tanya Smith, who was instrumental in the passage of legislation allowing for the kits use by law enforcement and in getting her department properly trained and equipped.
The Holly Springs department is the first in Georgia to carry and use naloxone, but it’s use has been spreading through out the country to law enforcement and civilians with apparent success, possibly as a result of the believed rise in heroin use in recent years.
The New York Times reported in May almost 20,000 kits will be distributed to New York City law enforcement, and in Suffolk County, N.Y., where a naloxone pilot program has been in place since 2012, almost 200 of reversals had already been reported.
With no known negative side effects if administered to a person not suffering form an opiate overdose, Holly Springs police spokeswoman Sherron Conrad believes naloxone use will continue to rise.
“Given today it’s probably going to take hold in the state of Georgia,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the department’s first successful use in June. “After today I believe it has a very bright future in this area.”