BELMONT – A 40-year-old Belmont man whose life likely was saved by paramedics was arrested for heroin possession after fleeing from a hospital emergency room Wednesday morning.
Patrick Stitt was found lying unresponsive on his bedroom floor at 197 Middle Route at 8:47 a.m. Wednesday, said Lt. Rich Mann.
Rescue crews believed that Stitt may have overdosed on heroin, so they administered the drug Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose. The drug worked quickly and likely saved Stitt from worse health problems and may have prevented his death, Mann said.
"When I got there, it didn't look good, he was having breathing difficulties, but the Narcan reversed the effect of the drug within about 45 seconds," Mann said.
Stitt was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment, he said.
An investigation into the incident brought enough evidence to support a felony charge of possession of heroin against him, Mann said.
But when they went to arrest Stitt at the hospital, he was gone.
"We were surprised to learn that Stitt had left on his own accord," Mann said.
He was last seen walking away from the emergency room. Belmont Police Sgt. Adam Hawkins found Stitt a short time later walking along Route 107 toward Belmont, and they arrested him without incident on the drug charge.
Stitt was booked at the Belmont police station where he met with a bail commissioner. He was unable to meet the bail amount, so he was transported to the Belknap County jail in lieu of $2,000 cash bail.
He will be arraigned Thursday via video arraignment through the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia District Division.
Mann said the incident is another discouraging sign of heroin use in Belmont. There have been "a handful" of arrests and near-deaths in town this year, and at least one heroin-related death.
On Feb. 4, rescue crews were called to a home at 56 Arlene Drive, where they found Michael L. Chamberlain of Clinton Street, Laconia, "suffering from breathing distress." Despite attempts to save him, Chamberlain died.
"It's symptomatic of what's going on in other towns in the state and across the country. Heroin has become very cheap, and as we know, it's very addictive," Mann said.