Man uses narcan kit to revive unconscious stranger

Man uses narcan kit to revive unconscious stranger
John Pritchett says he is now advocating for people to learn how to use a narcan kit, after he recently saved a stranger's life. (Source: WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - An Evansville man ran to help after spotting someone unconscious on the side of the street Wednesday.

Drug overdoses pose a very real problem in the community, authorities say. There have been multiple reports of people slumping into a zombie state in public places after overdosing.

John Pritchett of Evansville was at a meeting Wednesday evening when someone came running inside the building, frantically asking for help.

What Pritchett chose to do in the next minute may be the reason why the person he helped has a second chance at life.

“There was a young man, probably in his late 20′s, unresponsive," Pritchett said as he walked us through what happened. "He was laying half in the yard, half on the sidewalk.”

Pritchett is part of Aurora’s homeless outreach team, a non-profit organization that works closely with city officials to document and improve impoverished lives.

On Wednesday, he was off the clock, but for this moment, his work training came in handy.

“I went up, did a few checks on him. I did a knuckle rub on his chest to try and get a response from him," Pritchett said. “You rub your knuckles on their sternum like this,” he demonstrated.

The man he was trying to help had overdosed, and he wasn’t waking up.

“He had a little bit of foam kinda coming out of his mouth. Completely unresponsive," Pritchett said.

While an ambulance raced to the scene, Pritchett made a quick decision that could have been the difference between life and death.

“I ran inside, grabbed narcan out of my bag, ran back out. I shook him again. Still no response. I pulled his pants down a little bit and shot him in the thigh. He fairly quickly came out of his state, and he was a little agitated, you know."

Pritchett now has a new-found reason to advocate for everyone to get their hands on a narcan kit.

“Everybody needs to have it,” Pritchett said.

It’s situations like the one he went through that argue he might be right.

“Considering that this is the second person that I have found faced down on the concrete the past two months, it makes me sad," Pritchett said. "I have a heavy heart. What one person might look up and say ‘look at that junkie, or look at that person laying on the ground’, I see a person a suffering. Life, society is beating them down. We do not have enough resources in Vanderburgh County for jobs, for treatment, for taking care of people in that state. What I see is basically trying to escape the reality of what is their life. It makes me happy that I happened to be there, but it just makes me wish I could do more for that person, you know what I mean?”

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear tells 14 News, so far this year 20 people have lost their lives to overdoses. Last year, 34 people died. In 2017, it hit a high of 82 deaths.

There’s a chance for you coming up to learn how to use narcan and get kits for free.

Indiana Recovery Alliance of Evansville is hosting a free overdose reversal training.

It’s at Central Library in the Browning room, next Wednesday, May 29th at 9 a.m.

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