Event remembers lives lost to overdose, offers Narcan training

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:53 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The Mount Pleasant Police Department, WakeUp Carolina, and the Charleston Center are teaming up combat overdose deaths in South Carolina.

In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, the department and local groups hosted the third annual ‘Light the Way for Hope’ event to bring awareness to drug-related deaths and to honor the lives lost.

“We want to instill that hope in the community that there are many great efforts that are happening to decrease overdose deaths in our community and across the state. We want to honor those but also keep up the fight against this opioid epidemic,” Charleston Center’s Program director Caitlin Kratz said.

Health experts have seen an increase in overdose deaths because of the pandemic. A report by the CDC suggests the increase in South Carolina is as high as 53.8 percent, ranking in the top four states.

In 2020, 259 people died of an overdose in the Tri-county area.

Kathleen Orr has been coming to this event since losing her daughter Isabella to an overdose in 2017. Her goal is to bring awareness about drugs being laced with fentanyl.

“These kids are being poisoned. My daughter is a victim of drug induced homicide and I have been fighting for 4 years to get a law passed to hold drug dealers accountable,” Orr said.

Prior to the event officials held a training class for Narcan, which is the lifesaving drug used in opioid overdoses. A spokesperson for the police department says that is something they will continue to do.

“We’re seeing these kinds of situations come up not just at home, not just in the parking lots, hotels, it can be anywhere so our main people with the Narcan are helpful for sure,” Mount Pleasant Police Public Information Officer Don Calabrese said. “We have officers working and we can help put you in touch with our partners like the Charleston Center or Wake Up Carolina or anything else for that matter.”

For information or referrals about the Charleston Center, people can call the 24-hour helpline at (843) 722-0100.

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