After St. Patrick’s Day overdose, man struggling with addiction meets bystander who gave him CPR

Inside the opioid crisis in North Carolina
Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 at 8:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Saturday, March 17, 2018, is a day Jordan Smith of Cornelius and Nate Marino of Charlotte will likely never forget. It was St. Patrick's Day and thousands of people had flocked to uptown Charlotte to flaunt their green apparel and celebrate with libations.

While everyone seemed to be enjoying the holiday festivities, Smith found himself fighting for his life outside of an uptown bar. Smith recalled the last thing he remembers before passing out in front of a crowd of people.

"I went in the bathroom. I did the drugs and I remember leaving the bathroom stall," Smith said.

Opioid addiction began for Smith after he was prescribed medication following a back surgery. He said he eventually started using heroin to get rid of the pain he was feeling. Smith said he was fired from a job on St. Patrick's Day and let his emotions get the best of him.

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As a result, he turned back to heroin after he had been six-months sober.

Several people tried to help Smith after he overdosed in front of the busy bar. One of those people was Nate Marino.

"Someone had said, 'oh my God, this guy's overdosing,' and I looked over and I don't know why I just immediately pulled out my phone," Marino told WBTV.

He started recording as bystanders were giving Smith CPR. He said he eventually moved closer and took a turn giving Smith chest compressions.

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"A lot of people were really scared and didn't know what was going on, but they saw somebody that needed help and multiple people stepped in," said Marino. "There were multiple times through the whole session that people wanted to stop. They kept saying, 'he's gone, he's gone.'"

The cellphone videos recorded by Marino show a brief snippet of the dramatic situation.

While Smith looks lifeless in the videos, bystanders were able to keep him alive until medics got to the site, revived Smith with naloxone, and took him to the hospital.

Smith got a chance to thank Marino for his efforts when the two men met at WBTV.

"Thank you so much, man. I don't what to say. I don't know what I would have done in that moment. You guys really stepped in. What I saw was a lot of people talking to each other - sharing what they knew, what could help. It was beautiful," Smith told Marino.

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Smith said he has been fighting to stay sober and was disgusted with himself after he overdosed.

"I couldn't believe that I threw six months away. As ashamed as I was it was that, and then I didn't have a job," Smith explained.

He won't be hanging his head. Smith told WBTV he is committed to getting sober and will use what happened to keep himself clean.

"This is definitely a lesson that I'll learn from. And I don't think I could have had a bigger week to grasp how big and how real this is," said Smith regarding his opioid addiction.

The 24-year-old said he agreed to share his story with WBTV to help others.

"The reason I came in is maybe helping other people's viewpoints. Maybe if I can help one other person from this then it could have been worth it."

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