PINE BELT (WDAM) - Two Pine Belt law enforcement agencies were able to save two men from overdose deaths with Narcan, a first for both departments since receiving the nasal spray through state funding.
"When we got there, the young man had no pulse, he wasn't breathing and he was blue," said Jones County Deputy Chase Smith.
Smith and reserve deputy Austin Smith responded to an overdose call about two weeks ago, where the young man's mother told them he was overdosing on heroin.
The deputies, recently trained on how to use Narcan, we able to administer two doses of the nasal spray and bring the man back to life.
"We are in the business to help people. We want to save lives, and we got there and saw somebody, no matter what their choices were, was in a situation that needed help, and we had the capability to help them and give them a second chance," the deputies said.
The second chance may not have been successful if it wasn't for funding from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and other state agencies. The Jones and Lamar County Sheriff's Departments both recently applied for grants, which helped them purchase the life-saving spray.
"Precious seconds obviously count," said Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge. "With this application immediately now, I think this is going to bring awareness to other law enforcement officers to know, hey, I need to keep that on me, because in this case, it saved lives."
Another life was saved in Lamar County about three weeks ago when a deputy used Narcan on an overdose call. Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said that young man had also overdosed on heroin.
"If we didn't have the Narcan, he would have probably...the ambulance people said he probably would have died before he got to the hospital," said Rigel.
Rigel said the department received the Narcan, along with training, in the last six months. That incident was the first time it had been used to save a life. It's something Rigel said may not have happened if it were up to the department for the purchase.
"It's quite expensive, and the grant really is putting it in the hands of law enforcement, where it needs to be," said Rigel. "A lot of time, we are the first responders. We get there before the ambulance gets there, before the medical personnel gets there. So, it's good to have it on their person or in their patrol car. It probably would have been a lot longer for us to get the Narcan if the grant hadn't of been available."
Both Hodge and Rigel credit the funding and purchase of Narcan to Hattiesburg's James Moore. Moore has been an advocate for increasing awareness about drug abuse and addiction since losing his son, Jeffrey, to an overdose in 2015.
Moore has spoken with several law enforcement agencies to educate them on the grant money and opportunity to have Narcan.
"Wherever my son is right now, I know he is smiling when he hears someone else did not have to die as he did, because people are beginning to value the lives of those afflicted," said Moore.
The Jones County and Lamar County Sheriff's Departments have two dosage units per deputy, with additional supply for replacements.
"Hopefully, one day, we will have tools for all the drugs we can combat," said Deputy Chase Smith. "I don't care what you've done in the past. I just want to make sure you have a bright future."