A county police officer rescued a man from an otherwise fatal heroin overdose today during her early morning stop at a convenience store near New Castle.
Officer First Class Megan McDole spotted and saved the unconscious man outside a Wawa on Airport Road about 1:20 a.m. Sept. 23.
County police detailed the incident hours later in a news release by Public Information Officer JP Piser, who said the rescue began when McDole, a member of the Patrol Division's D-Squad, noticed the man, apparently asleep at the wheel of a parked vehicle with its windows down.
McDole went to check on him and noticed the man was having trouble breathing and was sweating profusely, Piser said.
She tried to wake him, but he was unresponsive. Recognizing signs of a heroin overdose, she retrieved her departmentally issued naloxone -- a nasal-spray drug that reverses opiod overdoses -- and administered a dose to the man. He began breathing more but remained unresponsive, so she gave him a second dose.
That revived him as county paramedics arrived and continued to provide care.
Taken to a hospital, the man later was described as conscious and alert.
He is the 36th person whose life has been saved by county officers since New Castle County Police became the state's first major police agency to carry the overdose-reversing drug 17 months ago by authorization of County Executive Thomas P. Gordon.
Gordon, Director of Public Safety Joseph Bryant Jr. and Chief Col. E.M. Setting also championed the police department's new HERO HELP program that provides treatment instead of arrest for eligible addicts.
County police began the revolutionary program earlier this year to help fight the opiod drug epidemic in collaboration with the state Department of Justice and Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
The program provides drug and/or alcohol addiction treatment to qualifying adults who contact police and ask for help.
Those interested in getting treatment from HERO HELP can find out whether they are eligible by calling (302) 395-8050 or asking for information at the Cpl. Paul J. Sweeney Public Safety Building at 3601 N. DuPont Highway near New Castle.
HERO HELP is open to Delaware residents who are 18 or older, have no criminal convictions involving violence and enroll voluntarily.