Video: Narcan used to revive woman who overdosed

Deputies have used emergency treatment 44 times this year

By Adrienne Cutway, Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - When an unconscious woman was dropped off at jail Monday afternoon, deputies knew they had to act fast.

The woman laid on the stretcher with no pulse. Suddenly, she jolted up as first responders were loading her into an ambulance.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said Corporal Bryan James administered Narcan, an emergency treatment used to counteract a drug overdose, to bring the woman back from the brink of death. 

James said he was walking to his vehicle when a man pulled up screaming for someone to help a woman who was in his car. James said the woman was turning purple and her lips were pale -- he knew she was overdosing.

"I went to my patrol car and grabbed some Narcan, administered it to her through her nostrils," James said.

But the ordeal wasn't over.

"So we got her out of the car, we were able to give her CPR on the grass here on the ground. She totally flat-lined, we had no pulse," James said. "We just kept with it, kept with the CPR. Eventually [the fire department] arrived, the Narcan finally kicked in ... She made it. It was a good day in Orange County."

Officials said James is the only deputy at the jail who has Narcan available to administer, but after Monday's overdose, they said they plan to make sure all deputies who are staffed at the jail have Narcan available.

James said he is thankful he was in the right place at the right time.

"I'm very appreciative that I was Johnny on the spot and able to use the training that the great Orange County Sheriff's Office gave me and used these tools to help this citizen recover because, you know, every strong person has a weak moment, and that is what this is all about," James said.

Not including Monday's incident, Orange County deputies have used the life-saving nasal spray 44 times so far this year on people as young as a 17-year-old boy up to a 56-year-old woman.

In 30 of those incidents, the person responded to the treatment. Nine people did not respond and in another five cases it's unknown if they responded or not.

Statistics provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office show that overall, overdoses are up. Between January and June this year, 473 people have overdosed in Orange County, compared to 276 people within the same time frame in 2016.

Sector 2, which includes the University of Central Florida and the entire eastern portion of the county, saw the most overdoses. A map of Orange County sectors is available here.

Even with the increased number of overdoses, there have been 43 overdose-related deaths in the first six months of 2017, which is only two more than were reported from January to June in 2016.

OCSO spokeswoman Jane Watrel said the overdose death numbers are decreasing, even though the data from so far this year doesn't reflect that. She credits Narcan for the positive improvement.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office started using the emergency treatment in June of 2016 and budgeted $25,000 for it annually. Each dose costs $37.50, which deputies say is a small price considering that the treatment has saved 88 people so far in Orange County.

James said Monday's close call was indicative of a larger problem in the region.

"We have a community problem. We have a crisis here in Orange County, a heroin crisis," James said. "It's a community problem, we need community solutions."

He suggests that anyone who has a loved one battling addiction should buy Narcan and have it available in case of an overdose situation.

"You can purchase (Narcan). Most people don't know this. If you are a user, if you are a family member, spouse, a coworker, a colleague (of a user), you can get this at your local pharmacy. Walgreens, CVS, wherever (for) $30, $40. Save someone's life and give them a second chance for recovery," James said.

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