Peaches Ledwidge, whose video of the incident was made public Tuesday, said other witnesses called 911 thinking that the man had died.
“Some people were saying goodbye. Dude, it was scary. I was just thinking, what could I do? I didn’t have much power to do anything because I thought it was bigger than me,” she told NBC-affiliate WKYC.
“I felt I was staring into the face of death.”
READ MORE: News crew saves man overdosing on heroin
But a new “Good Samaritan” law that came into effect on Tuesday now gives relatives and partners of an overdose victim the power to call emergency services for help without the fear of prosecution to themselves or the drug user.
“People are deathly afraid what would happen if they got caught,” said Thomas Stuber, president of a local drug treatment facility. “They are afraid that they would be prosecuted.”
The law can only be applied twice for one person and stipulates that the drug user agrees to seek treatment within 30 days.
The man who overdosed on Saturday, who remains unidentified, was revived with naloxone, an antidote to opiates.
Naloxone must be administered subcutaneously within five minutes of the overdose in order to be effective, said Stuber.
“We were just so happy when he came back to life. People were cheering,” said Ledwidge.
The drug crisis is at an all time high in Ohio. According to the state’s Department of Health, a person died from an overdose every 2 hours and 52 minutes last year.
Nearly half – 46.7 per cent – of those deaths were caused by a heroin overdose. A third of the deaths were from fentanyl, a powerful drug that has made its way over the border into Canada.
Health Canada approved naloxone this summer in order to curb Canada’s own opioid crisis.