WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – A new program to help people who overdose from opioids may have saved the life of a woman who was found slumped over inside a running minivan with two small children in the back seat.
The incident happened two days after Winter Haven police began carrying Narcan nasal spray due to an ongoing epidemic of opioid use.
Winter Haven Police Department officers responded to the St. Joseph’s Church at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday after receiving a report of a woman who was slumped over in a vehicle.
Officers say Christina Assad, age 31, her mother, and two small children had gone to the church to pick up some clothes. Assad’s mother, Heather Assad, age 51, went inside the church and left Christina and the children in the running vehicle with the air conditioner on.
A few minutes later, when Heather returned to the van, she found Christina slumped over in the passenger seat. All of the doors were locked and the windows were rolled up.
The children were still buckled in their car seats and did not appear to be in distress.
Police broke the driver’s side window so they could open the door. When Christina was pulled out of the vehicle, a used syringe, silver spoon and a lighter were located on the floorboard where Christina had been sitting.
As she was laid on the ground, a Winter Haven police officer administered nasal Narcan nasal spray to Christina. Emergency medical personnel arrived and transported her to Winter Haven Hospital for treatment.
Winter Haven Police Department officers began carrying Narcan nasal spray on Thursday, Aug. 3.
“Our officers are oftentimes the first ones on scene and having the ability to administer to an overdose victim prior to EMS personnel could be the difference between life and death,” said Chief Charlie Bird.
“Equally, our officers responding to calls involving narcotics have an increased probability of being inadvertently exposed to a deadly opioid and having the Narcan immediately available to administer is invaluable for the lives of our members.”
The Winter Haven Police Department spent $6,000 to purchase 160 4mg units at a cost of $37.50 each.
Christina will not be charged, as per the state statute.
893.21 Drug-related overdoses; medical assistance; immunity from prosecution.—
(1) A person acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose may not be charged, prosecuted, or penalized pursuant to this chapter for possession of a controlled substance if the evidence for possession of a controlled substance was obtained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance.
(2) A person who experiences a drug-related overdose and is in need of medical assistance may not be charged, prosecuted, or penalized pursuant to this chapter for possession of a controlled substance if the evidence for possession of a controlled substance was obtained as a result of the overdose and the need for medical assistance.
(3) Protection in this section from prosecution for possession offenses under this chapter may not be grounds for suppression of evidence in other criminal prosecutions.
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