SC Firefighters distribute over 200 doses of Naloxone

South Carolina News

FILE – This July 3, 2018 file photo shows a Narcan nasal device which delivers naloxone in the Brooklyn borough of New York. On Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, health officials reported that prescriptions of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone are soaring, and experts say that could be a reason overdose deaths have stopped rising for the first time in nearly three decades. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Firefighters are working to combat the state’s opioid epidemic through the Reducing Opioid Loss of Life (ROLL) program.

The voluntary program trains fire department staff to administer naloxone, an antidote which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.

1,700 firefighters across 113 units statewide participate in the program. In conjunction with the Law Enforcement Officer Naloxone (LEON) program, officials are trained on:

  • Signs and symptoms of overdose
  • How opioids affect the body
  • How Narcan® works
  • The Overdose Prevention Act
  • Best practices for first responder safety

The success of the program is especially important amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as “South Carolina has seen a 49 percent elevation in suspected opioid overdoses and first responder naloxone administrations over the same time frame in 2019 last year.

Arnold Alier, director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)’s Emergency Medical Services, agrees:

“The expansion of ROLL this year couldn’t have come at a more important time, allowing more first responder fire departments to respond to significant increases in suspected overdoses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

So far in 2020, firefighters have performed a record 200 naloxone administrations for suspected overdoses.

For more information on naloxone, click here.

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