SWEDEN, NY – In law enforcement, there are routine conversations, and there are those that are completely unexpected. In recent years, routine has unfortunately come to describe the number of drug overdoses that authorities respond to.
Alexarae Tschorke has been on the road, alone, for less than a week. Prior to that, she completed 20 weeks of field training to become the Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy. It’s a job she already loves.
“The interaction with the people,” she replied when asked what she thinks most about the job. “Of course it’s sometimes not good, but it’s our job and that’s what I love.”
Exercise paired her with road deputies. Tschorke got to see a lot.
“It’s six months of really good training and understanding of the scenes we can go to,” she said. “And what we will be exposed to.”
One and a half weeks ago, on one of her last training days, Tschorke answered a conversation with her training instructor, assistant Brian Callaghan. It was a medical conversation in the city of Sweden for a man who was not conscious or breathing. Deputies say civilians were the key to helping the man before they arrived.
“We decided to try Narcan, as there may have been a possible overdose of opioids,” said Callaghan.
As part of their daily field equipment, deputies carry doses of naloxone, the drug used to treat a suspected opioid overdose. Body-based camera videos show the deputies treating the man, who later said he had shot up a suspected opioid and fainted.
The naloxone saved his life.
“You have an empathetic response,” Callaghan said. “At the end of the day, this is someone’s son. Someone’s daughter. Someone’s family member. Friend. So we take it, at every job. ”
“On average, we do this twice a day,” said Deputy Michael Favata, a member of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Heroin Task Force. About 101 people have died from overdoses this year in the county, and more than 400 more have overdosed and survived.
“This was a textbook. They did a fantastic job, says Favata. “They definitely saved this man’s life, and then we’ll follow him up to get him to help.”
Helping drug addicts is a big part of the change in law enforcement during the opioid crisis.
“If it was one of my family members, I would want the same answer,” says Tschorke.
A success story now gives a man a second chance.
“This is a disease,” Callaghan said. “And we have to help.”