Florence deputies train to use Narcan during heroin calls

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence County Sheriff’s Office received training Tuesday on how to administer Narcan to save someone from a opioid overdose.

News13’s Kiahnna Patterson sat through the training with deputies and learned that the training and the life-saving drug are needed as Florence County was named one of 15 “at-risk” counties for opioid use by the state. Florence deputies, investigators, and correctional officers now know how to properly administer Narcan to drug users experiencing an overdose.

More than 50 Florence County deputies learned how to give the drug – a spray used to reverse the effects of heroin and prescription pills.

“We just feel like when our officers come in contact with the general public or either inmates in prison, we want to be able to administer Narcan,” says Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone. “I think it’s very important.”

Florence County Coroner Keith Von Lutchen says the county had 18 drug over dose deaths in 2015 and 28 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

Major Mike Nunn with the sheriff’s office says deputies are often the first to a scene, now each deputy knows how to recognize an overdose and is equipped with a Narcan kit – the drug itself and two nasal spray applicators.

“It will certainly increase odds that the person’s life might be saved,” predicts Major Nunn. “That is big for us. We want to do our part along with ems and fire.”

So far, the law enforcement officer naloxone program has traveled to more than 30 agencies in South Carolina. Arnold Alier, DHEC EMS Director, says the program also helps with rehab.

“What we want to do is not just save someone’s life. We are giving these folks a second choice. What they do with that choice is really up to them,” says Alier.

Over the next five years, the sheriff’s office will use Narcan at the discretion of deputies.

“We’ll continue to request and ask for training each year with Narcan,” says Sheriff Boone.

Sheriff Boone says a second group of deputies, investigators and correctional officers will receive training later this month. A federal grant pays for the training.