Charleston Police Departments looks to become a Narcan Distribution Agency

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston Police Department (CPD) is seeking approval from the City Council to submit a letter of intent to the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Substances (DAODAS) to become a Narcan Distribution Agency.

If CPD were to become a Narcan Distribution Agency, they would not only be able to distribute the lifesaving drug to citizens, hotels, bars, and restaurants but also train them in how to use it.

According to Rachel Lefebre, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PARRI) Outreach Coordinator with the Charleston Police Department, in 2020, the state of South Carolina saw a 50% increase in deaths caused by overdoses.

The Charleston Police Department, adding to that statistic as the Lefebre said the agency investigated 50 fatal overdose cases last year, and as of October 15th, there have been 25 fatal overdoses in 2021.

The hope of the designation would be to cut down the wait time for first responders to get to victims of the epidemic, as opioid overdoses with drugs like Fentanyl need immediate assistance.  

Lefebre said, the department knows that it is not uncommon for bystanders during an overdose to administer Narcan even before first responders are at the scene. So, by giving the prescription spray out into the hands of the community, they will not only be saving lives but giving those who are struggling with substance abuse disorders an opportunity to go into recovery and succeed in treatment in the future.  

Signs of an overdose according to Lefebre are shallow breathing and blue lips. She said the most important thing is that “if you are on the fence about if someone used drugs, you always want to be on the safe side and use Narcan and call 911.” 

The Charleston Police Department wants to make clear that substance abuse is a disease that can affect anyone—and no one is immune to this happening to their loved ones or to themselves. 

Lefebre said they would be using funds that they already have to spearhead the program. The funds are through the Coastal Community Foundation, and a partnership with the Charleston Center will also be utilized to determine the amount of prescription that is needed so that they are fully equipped.  

The agency’s hope is to roll out the distribution as soon as possible.

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