Knoxville police officers save 4 people in 5 days from heroin overdoses

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knoxville Police Department says its officers were able to save the lives of four heroin overdose victims in the last five days.

The first incident happened Saturday at a motel on Chapman Highway. Officer Travis Harvey found a 35-year-old woman unresponsive and immediately gave her naloxone. The drug, also known as Narcan, can instantly reverse the effects of an opiate-caused overdose, including heroin overdoses. The woman began breathing again in only about 30 seconds. She and her male friend said she was using heroin to celebrate her recent release from drug rehab.

Previous story: Knoxville police begin carrying drug overdose antidote

On Monday, Officer Mike Riddle was called to an unresponsive person in the driver’s seat of a vehicle parked on Parkside Drive. Riddle saw a used syringe and a cloth belt used to tie of the arm. He gave naloxone to the 36-year-old man who then began to breathe again. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The third incident also happened Monday. Officer Coy Tucker was called to an overdose on Baxter Avenue. When no one answered the door, he started looking in the windows and saw someone’s feet hanging off the bed in a back bedroom. Tucker entered the home and found a 27-year-old man slumped over the bed and unresponsive. Once given naloxone, he started breathing again and was taken to the hospital. Tucker found a used syringe next to the victim.

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Finally, on Wednesday, an 8-year-old child called 911 from a home on Vermont Avenue to say her mother had overdosed on what she believed was heroin. Sgt. Caryn Heitz arrived and found the 35-year-old woman unconscious on the bathroom floor. After Heitz gave her naloxone, the woman became conscious and was talking to the officer. She was taken to the hospital. It was discovered she and a man had been using heroin while her 8-year-old and 12-year-old were in the house. The man fled when the woman passed out.

Officers then learned there was no food in the house except a bag of chips the children had been eating from throughout the day. Sgt. Heitz, Officer JaJuan Hamilton and Officer Hunter Snoderly brought food for the kids and cared for them until out-of-town relatives could arrive. Charges are pending against their mother and the Family Crimes Unit is investigating.

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