A New Jersey police officer lost his job and driving licence after he was found overdosed on heroin while on duty.
Matthew D. Ellery, 29, from Middlesex, New Jersey, became a police officer in January 2017, after which he was assigned to the patrol division.
It was while the police officer was on patrol in the early hours of April 7 that he was found unresponsive in the driver’s seat of his car.
The 29-year-old was on shift shortly after 1am when dispatch attempted to reach him via police radio, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, NBC News reports.
After he failed to respond, an officer went looking for him at his last known location and found him unconscious in his car which was parked in the driveway of a business.
Luckily, the responding officer was also an emergency medical technician and determined Ellery was in the midst of an opiate overdose.
The officer then gave him two doses of Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, which is ‘an opioid antagonist medication used to block or reverse the effects of opioid drugs’, as per the DrugBank database.
Ellery was charged on April 15 with a single charge of driving while intoxicated, according to a copy of the summons obtained by NJ Advance Media.
However, once the case was transferred to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, a criminal investigation resulted in an additional charge of possession of heroin.
Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson said the 29-year-old pleaded guilty to both offences on Friday (July 12) and will have to partake in the Somerset County Drug Court programme. If he fails to finish the programme, Ellery could face up to five years in prison.
Ellery lost his job as a police officer, which he held for two and a half years, and has lost his driving licence for seven months as a result of the case.
His attorney, Steven Altman, said:
Matt Ellery is a wonderful young man who has a problem and we’re trying to do what’s needed so he resolves his problem and moves on with his life.
Ellery is scheduled to be sentenced in Superior Court in Somerville on August 23.
If you want friendly, confidential advice about drugs you can talk to FRANK. You can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or email via http://www.talktofrank.com/contact 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Or Live Chat at http://www.talktofrank.com/livechat from 2pm-6pm any day of the week.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).