The opioid crisis has been held relatively at bay in Flagler County until recently, but it’s making inroads as reports of overdoses are resulting in increasing calls to paramedics and sheriff’s deputies. There were three such calls in Flagler in a 48-hour period between Sunday and Tuesday.
Sunday afternoon Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Squanto Place in Palm Coast where a 57-year-old man was parked and at the wheel of a vehicle, unresponsive.
He had a weak pulse, was pale and had shallow breathing, according to the sheriff’s incident report. Several attempts to wake him by rubbing his sternum, shaking him and yelling his name failed. Sgt. Michael Breckwoldt administered a dose of Narcan along with additional sternum rubs. The man remained unresponsive. It took three doses of Narcan to revive the man. His color returned, his breathing became normal again.
Flagler County Fire Rescue paramedics took him to Florida Hospital Flagler. The man, who lives in Ormond Beach and had somehow driven and stopped along Squanto Place, denied taking narcotics, though he said he takes prescribed oxycodone for pain management. Oxycodone prescriptions have been responsible for accelerating addiction to narcotics and pushing users to heroin and other drugs as prescriptions become more difficult to fill.
Tuesday morning, paramedics and sheriff’s deputies went through a similar routine on Hernandez Avenue in Palm Coast. A 51-year-old man and resident at the house told deputies he’d gotten home for his lunch break and found his wife, 48, passed out in the living room, according to an incident report. He was able to wake her up and take her outside to await an ambulance. He thought she’d overdosed on Dilaudids–the woman has a history of narcotics abuse, he told deputies.
The woman told deputies the overdose was an accident, and that she had no wish to hurt herself. But she told paramedics it wasn’t Dilaudids, but heroin that she’d taken. “It should be noted that multiple track marks were observed on [the woman’s] arms,” the report states. She was taken to the local hospital.
Less than two hours later, deputies and paramedics were responding to a residence at 4531 Plum Avenue in Daytona North, or the Mondex, where a 1-year-old child was feared to have ingested methadone, a prescription opioid. A cleaning woman at the house that day told deputies she saw the child put something in her mouth and make a “sour face,” prompting her to ask the child’s 32-year-old mother, Sara Leigh Jordan, what the child was eating. Jordan removed “a wet powdery substance” from the child’s mouth, according to the report. The substance “had a square corner that appeared pill-like.” The child’s mother told the cleaning woman that it could possibly be one of her husband’s (Jordan’s) methadone tablets. Both women then went to their phones to call 911. The child was taken to the hospital and the Department of Children and Families was contacted.
Authorities were not entirely certain if the substance ingested was methadone: the house was being remodeled, and there was powdery substance from drywall on the kitchen floor. Jordan is on drug-offender probation until 2021. The incident report was categorized as “overdose poisoning.” Later this afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesperson, relaying an update from the detective, said “no methadone was ingested by the baby,” and that the substance in the child’s mouth was “most likely” from the drywall debris on the floor.
“We’ve had an increase in the number of calls that are overdose patients, mainly from opioids, that includes heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone,” Fire Chief Don Petito said. “We track that by the number of times we issue Narcan.” The antidote was administered in the field 155 times in 2014 (not always for narcotic use: it has several other applications, as in cases of heart attacks, for example), and 190 times in 2017. Each use now costs $47, up from $14 a few years ago).
Narcan is an opiate antidote that halts the more severe effects of a drug overdose by allowing an individual to breathe more normally. Sheriff’s deputies were all equipped with Narcan doses last November, five months after the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office had done likewise, in response to the growing number of overdoses deputies in both counties were responding to. Last January, Florida Highway Patrol troopers were also issued Narcan.
In court on Tuesday, Joseph Colon, the 34-year-old Palm Coast man facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 23-year-old Savannah Deangelis–who last October overdosed on heroin and possibly fentanyl allegedly supplied by Colon immediately before the overdose–had a pre-trial before Circuit Judge Terrence Perkins, with Deangelis’s father in the audience.
The pre-trial was continued to Oct. 30. It punctuated a different aspect of a 48-hour period that saw the varied aspects of the opioid epidemic’s effects on a community, as did the unrelated arrests of four individuals between Saturday and Sunday on a list of drug-related charges, including heroin, cocaine and meth possession. The suspects were Amber Robinson, 27, of Ormond Beach, who was driving on a suspended license at the time of her arrest and was on felony probation on a previous heroin conviction, Jonathan DeMartino, 37, of Palm Coast, a convicted felon, Michael Devito, 21, of Bunnell, and Nina Holley, 21, of Bunnell.
Anyone with information on the sale of Heroin in Flagler County is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 386-313-4911 or email TIPS@flaglersheriff.com. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1- 888-277-TIPS (8477). You could be eligible for a reward up to $5,000.