Local deputies save lifeless man suffering from opioid overdose

A still image from body camera video shows a Washington County sheriff's deputy administrating Narcan to someone who overdosed on opioids. (Washington County Sheriff's Office)

Body camera footage shows Washington County sheriff's deputies saving a lifeless man on New Year's Eve suffering from an opioid overdose.

Deputies responded to an Aloha parking lot and administered Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, reversing overdoses.

Using nasal spray, deputies gave the man one dose. Shortly after, deputies could be heard telling paramedics and firefighters the man was starting to breathe.

In 2018, law enforcement agencies in Washington County responded and deployed Narcan 17 times. Officers administered 23 doses of Narcan during those 17 incidents.

Law enforcement was successful 13 times out of the 17 incidents, which represents a success rate of more than 81 percent.

Patient demographics:

  • Average age: 35.64
  • Oldest: 60
  • Youngest: 21
  • Males/females: 13/4

Deploying law enforcement agency incidents:

  • Beaverton Police Department: 4
  • Forest Grove Police Department: 2
  • Tigard Police Department: 3
  • Sherwood Police Department: 2
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office: 6

Law enforcement believes there are far more than 17 overdoses in the county. Overdoses, especially involving opioids, are under-reported, as callers or users fear they will get in trouble.

Recognizing the opioid crisis, Oregon lawmakers passed new laws to protect callers and users reporting overdoses.

"In the past, people did not want to report overdoses for fear of getting in trouble," Washington County Deputy Justin Scott told KATU. "Now, when we go to an overdose call, we’re not looking to arrest somebody, we're basically looking to save their life, and make sure they’re OK."

Scott is among 60 sheriff’s office personnel trained and carrying Narcan. He's also an EMT, who formerly worked for a local ambulance company and as a volunteer firefighter.

"I carry extra medical equipment," he said opening a bag. "Everything from car wrecks, to traumas, to overdoses."

The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program provided grant funding for the naloxone kits. Metro West Ambulance supplied additional kits, and has also committed to replacing kits that are administered or expired. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) and Forest Grove Fire & Rescue provided specialized training to deputies and officers carrying the naloxone kits in their patrol vehicles. Agencies also developed policies pertaining to its application and maintenance.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has been collaborating with Washington County Public Health to raise awareness about the opioid crisis.

“We are pleased that local law enforcement is now equipped to reverse life-threatening overdoses in the field by carrying naloxone with them,” says Dr. Christina Baumann, deputy health officer for Washington County. “Addiction can happen to anyone, and we encourage people to visit www.AnyonePDX.org for support and resources.”

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