JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The mayor in Jacksonville Beach Florida is speaking out after he witnessed a victim of the opioid crisis first-hand.
Mayor Charlie Latham was doing a ride-along with first responders Saturday when they got a call about an overdose.
“The Jacksonville Beach units responded and found a young man who was very clearly in respiratory distress,” Latham said.
The man had overdosed on fentanyl, Latham said.
“(He was) very purple. Lips were purple. For all intents and purposes, he was dead -- didn't have a pulse," he said.
Latham said he watched first responders bring the man back to life.
It took two injections of Narcan, a chemical that helps reverse the effects of opiates, to bring the 23-year-old man back on the way to the hospital, Latham said.
“I was in the hospital right when he came around. He acted like it was another day at the office,” Latham said. “Shortly after that, his parents came in, and it looked like, of course, they were facing the worst possible, (worst) imaginable scenario.”
Latham said overdose deaths have increased 51 percent in Duval County since the beginning of 2017.
“I asked the JFRD gentleman how often this happens in Jacksonville Beach,” Latham said. “He told me three to five times a month that they have to use Narcan to bring someone back from overdose.”
Latham said the opioid crisis doesn't discriminate.
“It's all races. It's all economic levels,” Latham said. “There's no boundaries. It's a nationwide problem."
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