ELYRIA — A participant in the Lorain County Recovery Court overdosed in a hearing Tuesday.
County Common Pleas Judge John Miraldi, who oversees the opioid-based treatment court, said it took three hits of the anti-overdose drug naloxone to revive the woman.
Miraldi said the woman appeared sleepy while she was speaking to him, which she attributed to being tired and nervous. He said the woman, whom he declined to name, then went and sat down and appeared to be falling asleep before slumping over.
One of the team of legal and treatment professionals who work in the Recovery Court had a dose of naloxone and administered it to the woman, but it failed to revive her, Miraldi said. A deputy was called up to the courtroom and another dose was administered but had only a minimal effect.
The judge said the woman fully revived after emergency medical personnel arrived and administered a third dose of naloxone.
Miraldi said it’s the first time in the 1ﾽ-year history of the Recovery Court that someone has overdosed in the courtroom. He also said it’s the first time he’s seen an overdose in person.
“It just brought a bit of the streets into the courtroom,” he said. “To actually witness it was a reality check on what this drug can do.”
He also said he will begin keeping naloxone in the court in case another overdose happens.
Miraldi said up until Tuesday the woman had been doing well in the program, having completed the first phase and had been sober for more than 100 days.
But he said the woman recently underwent a scheduled medical procedure and was prescribed an opioid painkiller afterward and relapsed.
Miraldi said the woman likely will be sanctioned with jail time both as a punishment and to give her time to detox, but that she will likely be allowed to remain in the Recovery Court program.
“If you have a sincere desire to remain involved in treatment, we’re going to work with you,” he said, adding that it takes many opioid addicts between four and six times to kick the habit.
Lorain County saw around 140 overdose deaths in 2016.