Cheatham County deputies combat overdoses by being equipped with Narcan

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two people who overdosed are alive Thursday in part because every sheriff’s deputy in Cheatham County is armed with a special drug that reverses the effects of heroin and opioids.

At 6:30 a.m. Thursday, a call went out countywide that a woman has overdosed on heroin and her life signs are fading fast.

Cheatham County Deputy Jeremy Ethridge was the first to arrive to the scene.

“I made entry,” he said. “A female was in the bed and she was unresponsive. She was not responding to flashlight in her eyes, sternum rub [or] yelling at her.”

He added, “It is a scary feeling. You want to help them.”

The veteran officer administered Narcan, a drug that helps reverse overdoses, to the 50-year-old woman.

“My suspicion was a heroin overdose,” Ethridge said.

He said the woman didn’t immediately respond to the opioid blocker, but by that time an ambulance had arrived to the scene and EMS personnel administered a second dose of Narcan.

With the second dose, the woman began to wake up.

“It is a good feeling,” Ethridge said. “[I’m] glad she could be saved.”

After the woman was revived, she told deputies she did not overdose on heroin but admitted to taking four methadone pills, which is used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms to those addicted to heroin.

Deputies say the person who supplied the pill to the woman could possibly be charged with aggravated assault.

Sheriff Mike Breedlove told News 2 that heroin and opioid addiction account for most of the crime in his county, which he said is why all his deputies are equipped with Narcan and trained how to use it.

“We have saved more lives in 2016, had more access to the wonder drug Narcan, going in and getting access to the victims before they go into their final death, so that has been a plus – less OD deaths – still more overdoses,” he said.

Ethridge said since he and all other deputies began carrying Narcan, he has personally revived five drug overdose patients.

“It is a good feeling. [The] sad part is you save them and they don’t want to go to the hospital. They want you to leave their house so they can get their next high because you took that high away from them,” he said.

Click here to read more about Tennessee’s Opioid Crisis.