October 20, 2014

Medina
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Medina police use Narcan for first time to reverse man’s drug overdose

MEDINA — Police have used the lifesaving drug Narcan for the first time to rescue a Medina man who overdosed on heroin.

On May 31, police responded to a West Friendship Street home after receiving a call from a man who said his son, Brandon Keith, 26, had overdosed on heroin.

Medina police Lt. Dave Birckbichler holds an assembled Narcan applicator. The drug works by blocking opiate receptors in the brain, allowing for respiratory functions to resume quickly. (ANDREW DAVIS / GAZETTE)

Medina police Lt. Dave Birckbichler holds an assembled Narcan applicator. The drug works by blocking opiate receptors in the brain, allowing for respiratory functions to resume quickly. (ANDREW DAVIS / GAZETTE)

Officers entered the home and found Keith unconscious and breathing irregularly, according to a police report.

After suspecting a heroin overdose, officers used a “bag valve mask” to assist Keith with breathing and assembled the Narcan kit.

Officers administered the drug into each of Keith’s nostrils, the report said.

The drug works by blocking opiate receptors in the brain, allowing for respiratory functions to resume quickly.

Keith was responsive and regained consciousness five minutes after the antidote was administered.

Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said the ability to use the drug increases the chances that the overdose victim will be saved.

Officers found an empty syringe in Keith’s upstairs bathroom.

Keith is on five years of probation after he was convicted of drug trafficking in 2013.

Berarducci said Medina police are licensed to administer the drug.

In March, Gov. John Kasich signed a law that allows officers to carry the antidote in their packs.

The law passed after a five-month pilot program in Lorain County where police used Narcan 30 times, resulting in 28 lives saved.

Twenty heroin-related deaths occurred in Medina County last year and about 16 percent of drug-related calls involved heroin.

Berarducci said other area law enforcement agencies are calling Medina police to find out how officers reacted to the real-life situation.

“We are getting calls from police departments wanting to know how our officers did it,” he said. “We would like to see this program grow.

“It’s a very important program.”

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or adavis@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @adavisreports.