BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kent County sheriff’s deputy and EMT who happen to be married worked together Saturday to save a man who overdosed on heroin.
24 Hour News 8 started tracking and reporting the increase in heroin deaths three years ago, and it hasn’t let up since then. But in a move that’s starting to make a dent in the numbers is that all ambulances in Michigan and more and more fire trucks are now carrying a drug called Naloxone, or Narcan. It can reverse the effects of an overdose if administered quickly.
That drug and the focus and teamwork of a husband and wife — Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Stewart and paramedic Amanda Stewart — that saved a man’s life.
Saturday morning, Deputy Stewart stopped at the Cutlerville Fire Station to take a break. Then someone banged on the door, trying to get help for a friend who had overdosed on heroin and wasn’t breathing. Stewart pulled the man out of the car and started performing chest compressions.
“It obviously is a stressful situation, but through the training at the sheriff’s department and things like that … you stay calm,” he said on Thursday. “When the ambulance did arrive … at first I didn’t see who got out of it and you’re doing what you’re doing, giving chest compressions, things like that. And then I saw her (Amanda Stewart) walking over out of the corner of my eye and I saw the look on her face and I knew this man was in good hands.”
Amanda Stewart took over from there, giving the man Narcan and saving his life.
Undersheriff Michelle Young said there were six reports of heroin overdoses in Kent County on Saturday. None were fatal. But that’s often not the case because heroin users don’t know how strong their dose of the drug is. And heroin is growing in popularity. Users who start with an addiction to prescription drugs often switch to heroin because it gives the same high and is much cheaper.
“It’s really difficult for us to target the right population to educate about it because it’s so diverse,” Young said. “There’s teenagers and young 20s and 30s and 40s, your aunts, your uncles, your grandma and grandpas, it really is a very pervasive problem in our community.”
Nineteen people died from heroin overdoses in Kent County last year. That’s more than double the number from just five years earlier.
The sheriff’s department decided to tell the story of the rescue in part to raise awareness of the growing problem.
The Stewarts were married about four months ago.