Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood does not relish these moments. Yes, he takes great pride in one of his Upper Darby officer’s saving a life. It is the reason of why the officer had to act in this life saving effort that makes Superintendent Chitwood wonder how to actually correct the problem. Superintendent Chitwood made the decision to release the video, on Tuesday, of the overdose of a man using public transportation and the officer saving his life with after administrating the lifesaving drug known as Narcan.
The video shows, 25-year-old Michael Meeney, actually injecting himself while riding a SEPTA bus in the area of State and Lansdowne Avenues, on Monday. Meeney makes almost no effort to hide the fact that he was shooting up on a crowded bus at approximately 1: 30 p.m. Moments after injecting himself, Meeney is seen falling to the floor of the crowded bus while had about 30 to 40 passengers. Moments later, after the driver had cleared the bus of the passengers, and calling 911, Upper Darby police officer Matt Rugh administering a dose of nasal Narcan. The suspect is then seen coming to and was actually able to walk off the bus under his own steam.
Chitwood said of releasing the video that, “The first message is desperation. How desperate someone has become in their addiction to shoot up in broad daylight on a crowded SEPTA bus? The other message is once again, Narcan saves a life, but then what happens?” What happened next for Meeney was that he was arrested for drug possession and possession of paraphernalia, Meeney was remanded to the county prison in lieu of posting 10 percent of $20,000 set by Magisterial District Judge Robert J. Radano at a preliminary arraignment.
Chitwood said of the arrest, Now, he’s in the system. Hopefully, the system can help him with his addiction. Continuing Chitwood said that the heroin problem is not” just in Upper Darby. Heroin is the major drug problem facing American today.” Chitwood also argued that “In my opinion, there are no resources available to treat the epidemic we are facing. Are there facilities available? Yes. But nowhere near what’s necessary to deal with the problem.”
David’s Law, which was enacted in November, 2014, Upper Darby police have used Narcan to reverse the effects of a suspected opioid overdose 67 times. They have saved 58 lives including Meeney’s, Chitwood said. In three cases, individuals were dead on arrival, and six times the drug had no effect. Chitwood said of the use of Narcan that, “The (heroin) problem is so big, you are seeing all different people. We are not going back to the same people over and over, anyone who thinks that, it’s not true.” “It’s a great thing that that Narcan saves lives but it doesn’t do anything for the addiction,” Chitwood said. The problem is as Chitwood sees it, “It’s a great thing that that Narcan saves lives but it doesn’t do anything for the addiction.”