Police, fire and EMS personnel were called to the scene of a dual medical emergency in the 100 block of North Main Street in downtown Bel Air Wednesday night involving two people who had been using suspected heroin, according to Bel Air Police.
The first call was dispatched at 9:17 p.m. The first patient had an "adverse reaction" to a substance police suspect was heroin, Det. Sgt. Jim Lockard, a spokesperson for the Bel Air Police Department, said Thursday morning.
First responders called for a second ambulance at 9:34 p.m. for a second patient who was under the influence of the same substance, according to Lockard.
Police cars, Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company ambulances and a rescue truck responded and parked in the south lane of the two-lane, one-way street, where paramedics could be seen administering aid to one person on the sidewalk before loading them into an ambulance.
The first patient was taken to University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, but the second person declined to be taken to the hospital, according to Lockard.
Lockard said he could not provide the names of the patients, citing medical privacy regulations under the federal HIPAA law. He said charges had not been filed against either person.
Maryland's Good Samaritan Law protects people who are going through an overdose, or someone who calls 911 for a friend who is overdosing, from criminal charges for possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia or giving alcohol to minors, according to Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web page on overdose prevention.
Saving a person's life "and then making resources available to get them help are our priorities," Lockard said.
The block where the call was dispatched is commercial, but some of the buildings have apartment units on the upper stories. The businesses there are closed at that time of the night.
The two patients lived in that block, according to Lockard.
Some gathered at the corner of Main and Lee streets and watched the emergency situation less than half a block away. After the scene was cleared about 9:50 p.m., people continued to stroll along the block between Lee and Gordon streets with phones in their hands.