Stranger helps save Mt. Juliet man suspected of overdosing on opioids

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 07:30:38-04

MT. JULIET TENN. (WTVF) — A woman said she had to give CPR to a man suspected of overdosing on heroin in the parking lot of a gas station in Mt. Juliet.

Charlotte Frost and her wife were on their way home when they stopped at the Mapco on South Mt. Juliet Road around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. She remembered seeing a man being pulled out from the back seat of a car.

"He was gray in color and hands looked a little blue," Frost recalled. "I did two rounds of CPR."

As someone who worked in hospitals in the past and is currently a mental health specialist at a detention facility, she knew how important it was to treat the man quickly. However, Frost knew CPR was not enough when the driver of the vehicle mentioned how he was overdosing on heroin. Narcan, a nasal spray form of Naloxone, is required to reverse the effects of any opioid overdose.

Luckily, it only took a few minutes before Corporal Chris Barth and other officers with the Mt. Juliet Police Department responded to the scene. They arrived thinking it was a medical call.

"If we hadn't showed up when we did, the outcome would have been a lot different. CPR probably kept the heart pumping enough until the EMS were able to arrive to administer the Narcan," Frost said.

Body camera footage provided by MJPD showed Barth approaching the man lying on the ground. You could hear Barth say, "He's got a pulse." Barth could be seen walking back to his patrol car and opening one dose of Narcan and handing it to another officer who administered it.

"It's becoming very common for them [officers] to respond to this type of incident," MJPD Spokesperson Captain Tyler Chandler told NewsChannel 5.

In Mt. Juliet, the number of reported drug overdoses went up from 14 in 2017 to 33 the following year. Chandler said the department keeps track of numbers for safety but to determine if a criminal investigation is required.

"It's also assigned to a criminal investigator because we want to determine how that individual came in contact with the substance that they overdosed on and to see if there's any criminal element there," Chandler added.

The department began carrying Narcan in 2017 with the help of state grants. Frost said the recent incident is an example how critical it is to know CPR, but also how vital it is to make Narcan readily available.

"Anything we can have to reverse any effects the drugs they're putting in their bodies we should do it. I think that they're playing Russian Roulette with their lives," she said.

If you need help finding treatment services, call or text the 24/7 Tennessee Redline at 1-800-889-9789 for confidential referrals.