With Narcan available in 20 SC counties, is it enough to fight o - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

With Narcan available in 20 SC counties, is it enough to fight opioid abuse?

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

Thousands of law enforcement officers are now carrying Narcan, a drug that's used to reverse an overdose from opioids.

And within the next 5 years, the state will have received $3.2 million worth of Narcan for a problem that may only get worse by then. This is the latest department in South Carolina to get their hands on some Narcan.

And it's been proven to save dozens of lives in the state just this year possibly thousands in 2016. But with the growing demand for such a powerful drug, the question is will it be enough?

"We're not as bad as many counties, Horry County is out of control, Richland County, and the bigger more populated counties have a bigger problem," Sheriff Jim Matthews said. 

But the problem here was big enough for him to equip every deputy here with Narcan through a federal grant. 

"As soon as I was aware of it, we signed up, they are just now getting to us," Matthews said. 

And his department is one of 66 in the state now taking it to the streets.

After the SC Department of alcohol and other drug abuse services received $3.2 million in federal grant money to spend on the drug over the course of five years.

The goal? Save people who overdose on things like heroin and fentanyl.

"That person is somebody's child, wife sister brother husband, so why not?" Matthews said. 

And under the grant money, so far 61 lives have been saved in South Carolina.

But the price tag is not cheap. Experts estimate Narcan could cost as much as $180 for one nasal spray.

"When families and we don't do things ourselves to protect ourselves, then the government comes up with a program," Matthews said. 

So far only law enforcement has received the Narcan, fire departments and EMS will come later. As of now, 20 counties are using the drug Narcan. Departments in other parts of the country are taking a more extreme approach to the epidemic.

An Ohio town is actually considering whether to no longer respond to repeat heroin overdose victims.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved. 

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