Man charged after overdosing in detention center

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 2, 2024

SALISBURY — A man has been charged after deputies said that they used Narcan on him after he overdosed in the Rowan County Detention Center.

The incident began at approximately 8:55 p.m. on Wednesday, when 47-year-old Paul Anthony Ewing collapsed in his living area, said Captain Mark McDaniel, public information officer for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. A detention center lieutenant reportedly notified the sheriff’s office and told the responding deputy that nearby inmates had said that Ewing needed Narcan.

Narcan was administered to Ewing by detention center staff, at which point he became responsive, McDaniel said. Ewing was then reportedly taken down to a separate cell where he could be monitored.

After Ewing recovered, deputies searched him and found a crushed pill in his pocket that they believed to be fentanyl, McDaniel said. Deputies reportedly confiscated the pill immediately and placed it into evidence.

A deputy reportedly then went to the magistrate’s office and sought an additional charge of felony possession of a controlled substance on the premises of a penal institution, which was granted. McDaniel said that the crushed fentanyl pill and the deputy’s knowledge of Narcan, which is only effective on people who have suffered overdoses from opioids, were presented as the probable cause for the charge.

McDaniel said that the deputy’s report did not indicate how the fentanyl had been brought inside the detention center, but that Ewing or someone else could have potentially snuck it in on their person, getting past the standard body search.

Ewing had been in the detention center since Saturday, May 25, when he was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a schedule II controlled substance, according to jail records. 

Ewing was placed back into the detention center and given an additional $10,000 bond by Magistrate Benjamin Franklin.