A man was arrested Wednesday in Mitchell after ambulance personnel revived him from a heroin overdose.
According to a press release from the Mitchell Department of Public Safety, a woman reported at about 4:13 p.m. that 40-year-old Jamie Bowen was not breathing.
Mitchell police and ambulance personnel responded to a residence on East Havens Avenue, where they determined Bowen was having an opioid overdose and administered Narcan, an opioid antagonist.
“He was out on the brink of death, and he came right back out of it,” Mitchell Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg told The Daily Republic Thursday afternoon.
Once Bowen had been revived, he was transported to Avera Queen of Peace. A search warrant was executed on the residence where Bowen was found, and police allegedly found drug paraphernalia and less than a gram of an unidentified powder.
When he was released from the hospital, Bowen was arrested for unauthorized possession of a controlled substance in schedules I or II and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additional charges may be filed against Bowen, police indicated Thursday.
The woman who called 911 to report the incident reportedly stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. The woman allegedly had illegal drugs in her possession, but was not charged due to a law passed in 2017 that gives immunity to people who report those that need emergency assistance for drug overdoses.
Overweg said that to his knowledge, this is the first time that law has been used in Mitchell since its passage.
“It saved this guy’s life, by her calling this in,” Overweg said.
That law states that the reporting party qualifies for immunity if the evidence leading to a person being charged was obtained as a result of their seeking medical assistance, if they seek assistance for someone with an immediate concern and if they remain at the scene and cooperate with medical and law enforcement personnel.
A similar law applies to underage drinkers who call for help and cooperate with law enforcement for alcohol consumption-related medical emergencies.
“If there is any like incidents, we want people to know: don’t just sit back and let these people die,” Overweg said. “Call it in, wait until we get there, and there’s an immunity clause out there.”
Though EMTs had been trained on how to use it for years prior, Mitchell police began to be trained on how to administer Narcan, the FDA-approved brand of nasally-administered naloxone, in 2017 as a precaution for handling the opioid epidemic that has become prevalent across the country in recent years. Overweg said that it’s still very rare to see heroin usage in the area.