CAMPBELL, Calif. (KTVU) - A South Bay police department announced for the first time it used a controversial antidote to help save the life of a heroin user.
Campbell Police were called to the Walgreens on Campbell Avenue on August 3 for a medical call.
Officers say they found a 22-year-old man inside a bathroom stall who had been shooting up heroin and apparently suffering from an opioid overdose.
"When the officers went into the bathroom they saw he was slumped over the floor, that there were syringes surrounding him and he was having trouble breathing," said Campbell Police Captain Gary Berg.
Officers then pulled out the nasal spray Narcan, also known as Naloxone, and say within 10 seconds of administering it the man went from unresponsive to talking with officers.
He was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and released several hours later.
"In this case the man's life was saved because of the Narcan and while there aren't overdoses frequently in Campbell, this is another tool officers have in saving lives," said Capt. Berg.
Last year, the public health department says there were 67 opioid-related deaths in Santa Clara County and half of those were from prescriptions.
According to an online database, the prior year there were 357 opioid related deaths in the Bay Area.
San Francisco had the most with 92, followed by Santa Clara and Alameda counties.
While some critics questioned whether governments should be providing the health service or perpetuating drug use, Savannah O'Neill who works for an non-profit in Alameda County that distributes Naloxone kits, says it's just part of the solution.
"There's been a lot of research to show it's really effective. It doesn't increase people's drug use," said O'Neill, an Overdose Prevention Educator.. "I think people have a fear you're going to enable people's continued drug use which just doesn't prove to be true."
Campbell Police in March became one of the first departments in Santa Clara County to be trained by Behavioral Health to recognize an opioid overdose and used Narcan and the department says the Walgreens incident marks the first time Campbell Police officers used it.