24th such case the agency has handled

An Ocala police officer on Thursday used Narcan to revive a woman who had used heroin and passed out at a gas station.

The 29-year-old woman, interviewed by Ocala police Officer Arnaldo Colon inside an ambulance, said she had injected the drug about 3 p.m. She said she uses heroin about once a week and had never overdosed before, according to a police report.

Colon told her that he was going to take her into custody pursuant to the state's Marchman Act, which allows authorities to initiate protective custody. The woman was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center for further treatment.

Colon was called to the Marathon gas station, 1702 S. Pine Ave., in reference to an overdose. When the officer arrived, he saw the victim on the ground next to a Chrysler Sedan. The driver told the officer that she did not know if her friend had used drugs before passing out, the report said.

The officer determined that the woman had overdosed. He went to his patrol vehicle for Narcan and a defibrillator. Colon gave the woman two doses of Narcan, which is a nasal form of naloxone.

The woman began coughing and breathing slowly. Colon then provided CPR and told a bystander to set up the defibrillator. The voice commands on the defibrillator said the patient did not need a shock, so the officer continued with CPR until medical personnel arrived.

Another officer, who arrived to assist Colon, searched the vehicle, but did not find any drugs, the report said.

Since being issued Narcan, Ocala police officers have saved or assisted in 24 cases. Since the start of 2018, Ocala has had 106 overdoses, 14 of them fatal. All those cases are within the city limits.

In February, city and police officials launched an amnesty program where drug users who need help can go to the Police Department and an officer will transport the individual to a treatment facility. The user will not be charged.

To date, 24 people have accepted the program, police officials said.

Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, austin.miller@starbanner.com or @almillerosb.