The Forsyth County News spent a year looking into the recent rise of heroin overdoses and what is being done locally to combat the causes at their root. The result was this six-part series.
FORSYTH COUNTY – For the second time in just as many weeks, a teenager’s life was saved when local emergency personnel used an anti-overdose drug to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Voss responded to a call involving a 19-year-old who appeared to be overdosing on heroin Wednesday morning, according to the agency.
Voss administered a dosage of Naloxene, or Narcan, which is a drug that can be given nasally or by an injection to immediately reverse a heroin or opioid-based prescription pill overdose.
The teen showed improvement after the initial dose but was still not responsive to deputies and was having a hard time breathing.
EMS personnel arrived on scene and administered another dose, after which the teen became conscious and responsive.
The teen is reportedly being treated at an area hospital.
“He is alive today thanks to Deputy Voss and EMS personnel for their quick action and training,” said the sheriff’s office in a social media post.
According to Deputy Epifanio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, Wednesday’s incident marked the fourth life saved by a deputy with the agency using Narcan since it was purchased at the beginning of the year with drug seizure money.
A woman in her 30s overdosed in March, as did another person in March and did a 17-year-old last week. All were found non-responsive and were administered Narcan.
Narcan began being placed with law enforcement agencies and drug prevention groups throughout Georgia after a 2014 law was passed allowing its distribution.
The 911 medical amnesty law also allows people to call 911 if they are with someone who may be overdosing without fear of being arrested for using or possessing drugs.
The law was passed as an effort to combat a recent increase in overdose deaths due to heroin and pills, especially in young adults and teenagers. Its advocates included parents, educators, law enforcement personnel and friends who have lost someone to heroin.