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Sheriff’s deputies prevent near-fatal overdose in courthouse lobby

Arlington County courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Two Arlington County Sheriff’s Office deputies prevented a near-fatal opioid overdose in the lobby of the county courthouse yesterday morning.

The individual, a member of the public and not an inmate, was found lying on the ground in the courthouse lobby at approximately 8:30 a.m. Thursday, showing signs of a severe overdose.

While the specific opioid wasn’t named, officials noted that the individual was resuscitated with Narcan, a drug used to reverse overdoses from opioid painkillers and heroin.

The individual required several doses of Narcan to be revived, according to ACSO spokeswoman Amy Meehan.

After deploying the Narcan, deputies alerted emergency medical services and the man was transferred to the hospital.

Arlington County continues to feel the impacts of the nationwide opioid crisis, and regionally, about 32% of adults know a family member or friend struggling with addiction, estimates the Inova health system.

So far this year, Arlington has seen 43 non-fatal and 20 fatal overdoses, according to county data. That marks a decrease in the overall number of registered overdoses, though fatal overdoses have yet to see similar declines.

One fatal overdose, of a 14-year-old Wakefield High School student in January, sparked increased efforts and discussions within Arlington Public Schools, the county and the broader community about the need for counseling services and the availability of overdose-reversing treatments.

A press release about the incident from the sheriff’s office is below.

The quick response of two Arlington County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Corporal Gan and Corporal Garrison, saved a man’s life yesterday. While assigned to the Courthouse, the deputies saw a man lying on the floor in distress exhibiting overdose symptoms and immediately went to assist the individual. Corporal Gan administered Nasal Naloxone (also known as Narcan®), while Corporal Garrison alerted emergency services and the man was transported to the hospital.

Arlington County sheriff deputies and first responders carry Nasal Naloxone (also known as Narcan®), a safe and effective medication that can reverse an overdose from prescription painkillers or heroin. Narcan is available over the counter without a prescription. Arlingtonians can request free Narcan and REVIVE (Narcan) training by emailing the Department of Human Services.

It is important for our community to be aware of the signs of an overdose as this is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. If you observe someone experiencing the following overdose symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately:

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Vomiting or gurgling
  • Blue lips and/or fingernails
  • Not responsive or sleeping and cannot be woken up
  • Deep gurgling or rattling snore

Key Contact Information

Programs and Services

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are numerous treatment resources available in Arlington and through the Department of Human Services. Community members are also encouraged to prevent medication misuse or overdose by safely disposing of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medication in one of Arlington’s four permanent drug take-back boxes or by requesting a free deactivation bag.

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