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Suspected OD in parking lot highlights growing heroin problem

Medics work on an unconscious, unresponsive man who collapsed in the Walmart parking lot.

Sun Advocate reporter

Reports of an unconscious and unresponsive man brought public safety and medical personnel to the Wal-Mart parking lot Friday afternoon, as county EMTs worked to stabilize what evidence showed to be a suspected heroin overdose.

"Once on scene, our officers performed what is known as a sternum rub," said Price City Police Capt. Bill Barnes, describing a technique which is used to get a patient's attention or bring them out of a stupor. "When he did not respond, they knew they were facing a very dangerous situation."

According to Barnes, Michael Malone Tomsich, 21, of Ferron, was not only unresponsive but was suffering from an erratic heartbeat as authorities worked to stabilize him for transport.

Tomsich was reportedly found in a green 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. Police questioned the vehicle's other occupant a 20-year-old woman also of Ferron.

"I can't go into exactly what she said, but she did provide information that was helpful to Tomsich's condition," explained Barnes.

As Tomsich was being loaded into an ambulance for transport to Castleview Hospital, he regained consciousness and began speaking with medical workers.

While Tomsich has not been charged or arrested at this time, Barnes reported that information and evidence found at the scene did warrant a criminal investigation. According to Barnes, the Carbon County District Attorney will now screen the information and consider charges of Possession of Heroin and Possession of Paraphernalia.

The captain said area police have been fighting an increased amount of heroin in Carbon County for at least the past two years.

"More and more the arrests our officers make for possession include heroin," said Barnes. "Additionally, last year we had a stretch where a significant amount of overdoses where attributed to the drug. These substances are taking local lives and we make arrests every day to try and stop their use."

The most recent five-day jail booking document shows that 12 separate arrests were made for either possession of a controlled substance or possession of paraphernalia.

"Just this weekend we had another arrest for heroin possession," concluded Barnes. "And I can tell you that more and more our arrests for possession include some type of opiate. More and more that opiate is heroin."

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