Rookie police officer uses Narcan twice in 19 days on overdose patients

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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) -- All police officers carry a gun, taser and handcuffs, keeping them close at hand.

But there is another tool officers are using much more than those weapons. It's Narcan, the opioid antidote.

Justin McGregor knows all about it. He's already used Narcan to save two lives during his first six months on the Saginaw Police Department in Saginaw, Michigan.

"Out here the drugs are getting stronger," he said.

McGregor was dispatched to two overdose calls 19 days apart in November. He successfully used Narcan both times to help revive the overdose patient.

"Most officers usually grab one. I started grabbing two because of the experiences I have dealt with," he said of his Narcan supply.

Narcan reverses the effects of opioids like heroin or pain medications during an overdose. McGregor said both life-saving incidents in November started the same way: someone was in trouble.

"Blue in the face, pale, barely breathing, gasping for air," he said.

Both times, he was the first emergency responder to offer help.

"They kind of do this gasping for air. They are trying to get more oxygen due to the drugs," McGregor said. "I knew right away what this was, so I quickly grabbed my Narcan and I ran over to him MMR is not on scene at this point."

He was carrying the nasal form of Narcan, which is sprayed right into an overdose victim's nose.

"I kind of wait a little bit to see if he reacts to it, no response, and then I give it to him in his left nostril, and he just comes back like a light -- like a lightbulb turns on," McGregor said.

The 28-year-old man's life was saved in the first incident. He told McGregor he overdosed on Vicodin.

In the second incident, the drug of choice was heroin and McGregor had a more difficult time reviving the patient.

"You are essentially giving someone two doses and that's not working," McGregor said.

MMR Ambulance crews arrived and administered more Narcan to revive that patient.

McGregor once thought about getting into the medical field. By becoming police officer, in a way, he did.

"I'm so glad that we went through this training, because if I didn't have this training, me getting their first really doesn't matter, because I'm just standing around, and I'm not that kind of person," he said. "I want to get there, I want to do something, I want to help."

The Saginaw Police Department lists eight drug overdose deaths in the city this year so far. But there have been 19 Narcan saves.

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