AfterParty Hero: The Georgia Cop Who Saved an OD With Naloxone
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AfterParty Hero: The Georgia Cop Who Saved an OD With Naloxone


This post was originally published on June 26, 2014.

We’re the first to admit it: we loooove a heartwarming story of a policeman done good. (Especially because there have been more and more disturbing news stories over the past couple years in which a cop has done, well, the opposite of good.) So we really like our latest installment of AfterPartyHeroes.

Thinking Fast

Here’s the scoop: A couple weeks ago, a Georgia police sergeant named Nathan Ernst was the first officer to arrive at the scene of an emergency call from a local home. When he arrived, he discovered a 24-year-old unconscious woman who was having a seizure due to an opioid overdose. Sergeant Ernst beat out the EMTs in arriving on the scene, and thankfully he knew to move quickly. He administered a dose of a medicine called naloxone into the woman’s nostril, thereby saving her life with his swift judgment and even swifter action.

It was the first time Ernst had ever used naloxone on an OD victim, but it was clear, within just one minute, that she “stopped seizing and started becoming more stable,” he recalled to Business Insider. After the woman awoke, the EMTs took over; she was deemed to be in stable condition at the hospital later that day.

Naloxone Saves Lives

Naloxone has been in the news lately for its impressive reputation for single-handedly counteracting the nasty and frequently lethal effects of an opioid overdose.

Because the number of people dependent on heroin more than doubled between 2002 and 2012, the need for easy access to naloxone is greater than ever. And one of the great things about the drug is that it can be administered by both regular folks and police officers, making it a much simpler and quicker course of action than sitting around waiting for the paramedics to show up. Plus, the drug has an impressively high success rate; as of February, the police department in Quincy, Mass. had a 95 percent success rate when using naloxone to reverse an overdose.

Here’s hoping that more and more law enforcement offices across the country will begin both educating and equipping their officers with this lifesaving drug—it could make a significant impact in the overall number of opioid-related deaths in this country. Good work, Sergeant Ernst!

To see all our AfterParty Heroes, click here.

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.