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Forsyth deputy uses Narcan to save teen from heroin overdose
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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 — A local deputy has been hailed for saving a teenager’s life early Monday morning by using an anti-overdose drug that reverses the fatal effects of an opioid overdose.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy Rodney Pirkle responded to a call on May 23 involving a 17-year-old who was reportedly overdosing on heroin, according to the agency.

Pirkle 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 regained conscious after receiving the Narcan and was transported to an area hospital to be treated.

“He is alive today thanks to Deputy Pirkle for his quick action and training,” said the sheriff’s office in a social media post.

A woman in her 30s was saved from an overdose by a deputy administering the drug to her in March, marking the first time a deputy with the local sheriff’s office used Narcan since it was purchased at the beginning of the year with drug seizure money.

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.