Marietta Police have reported the first case of one of its officers using the opioid-reversal drug Narcan to save someone’s life.
The incident occurred early Monday morning when Officer Jennifer Bostwick was flagged down by another motorist who told her his brother had overdosed after snorting heroin, said Officer Chuck McPhilamy, department spokesman.
McPhilamy said the officer was patrolling Marietta just after midnight Sunday when she was nearly sideswiped by another car that ran a red light at the intersection of Atlanta Road and South Marietta Parkway. The driver jumped out and told her his brother was in the car overdosing.
“He was driving to find someone to help him and literally pulled the officer over,” McPhilamy said.
Backup was called and officers were able to administer the drug to revive the man, who was in the passenger seat.
McPhilamy said while some Marietta officers already carry the overdose reversal drug, the department is in the process of training all 135 of its officers to use it.
“Normally, Marietta Fire arrives within moments of when we do and we haven’t needed the Narcan,” he said. “But we were concerned our own officers would accidentally get exposed to fentanyl or opioids so we decided it’s better to have it on ourselves as well just in case we responded to a call that Fire wasn’t dispatched to.”
The Narcan, which is a single-use nasal spray, was purchased with a $6,500 donation last year from the Jim Ellis Automotive Group, McPhilamy said, and officers began carrying it regularly about three months ago.
“That’s the best case scenario,” McPhilamy said. “That’s what we wanted — should the event arise where we need to be the ones to administer the Narcan, we have the ability to do so.”
Georgia’s amnesty law provides legal protection from anyone who seeks help from first responders in the event of an overdose. No charges were filed and no arrests have been made.
State Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-east Cobb, introduced the law allowing first responders to carry naloxone in 2014. Naloxone is the generic version of the name brand Narcan. Cooper’s House Bill 965 also offered amnesty to anyone who sought help for someone overdosing.
The representative said Friday she was pleased to see her law save lives in her community.
“One of the great things about being a state representative is that I can help shape laws to save lives in my district and in Georgia,” Cooper said. “Every time an officer saves a life with Narcan, it gives that person a chance to get their life in order, to beat this terrible addiction.”
McPhilamy said while police don’t condone drug use and will arrest anyone caught selling, they understand the trauma that addiction causes families.
“We’re not here to persecute someone who has an addiction, but if we can help them in that moment, that’s what we want to do,” he said.
He said he hopes the man who was revived by officers will use the opportunity to seek help for his addiction.
On Monday, local real estate agent Yvette Williams, a member of “Realty4Rehab,” donated $500 to the department to go toward purchasing more Narcan as the drug has to be replaced each year.