Mount Pleasant police could be getting new tool to use in the field

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - William Barnes has been working with the Mount Pleasant Fire Department for more than a decade.

In that time, he's responded to countless overdose victims.

"It seems to be a steady increase," said Barnes. "Like I said earlier, it's nation-wide, and also Charleston County and state-wide. So yes, we've had a little bit of an increase."

That's an increase the Department of Health and Environmental Control has been keeping track of.

In 2015, there were 58 opioid overdose deaths in Charleston County.

But in 2016, that number rose to 65 overdose deaths.

But Mount Pleasant Fire Department has a tool they use to fight those numbers.

It's called Narcan. It's small and fairly easy to use.

But police officers in Mount Pleasant don't have the drug.

Mount Pleasant Town Council met Tuesday night to decide whether police should carry Narcan.

Barnes says giving police the drug would only save more lives.

"With a scene with a possible overdose, we have to have police on the scene prior to our arrival to secure the scene and make sure it's safe to go in," said Barnes.

That wait time could be the difference between life and death for overdose victims.

That's why he thinks the community would benefit if police officers had the drug.

"Especially when somebody is not breaking anymore, we can give it and help them start breathing again," said Barnes.

For Barnes, those rescues are the greatest victories.

"It makes you feel good. It really does. Especially when you're able to make a difference for a family," said Barnes.

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