GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - The opioid epidemic is affecting all parts of South Carolina. First responders throughout the state are stepping up efforts to combat the crisis.
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there were 748 opioid overdose related deaths in 2017.
In Georgetown county, 14 deaths in Georgetown county were blamed on opioids. Georgetown police officers say they are doing everything they can save lives.
“It’s definitely an issue, it’s a problem that didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to get fixed overnight,” Georgetown Police Capt. Nelson Brown said. “As far as street level officers we give them the tools and the training to react to those calls of service and try to make a difference when they get there.”
First responders in the city are taught to use Narcan, which is an opioid overdose reversal drug. Officers can administer the drug rapidly when someone is overdosing.
Over the past 12 months, the police department has responded to 19 overdose calls. In that time, the officers have had to use Narcan several times.
Captain Brown says it’s a trend they’ve seen go up.
“Everybody’s going to have to take their part and their role in trying to reverse the trend that’s come up,” Brown said.
A recent lawsuit wants to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid related deaths in the state.
Brown believes this is a societal issue and everyone needs to help out in order to stop this crisis.
The Georgetown Police Department offers training to the public about opioids, and what people can be on the lookout for when a person they know starts using drugs.