Columbia, SC - (WLTX) While opioid addiction is on the rise, the drug Narcan is helping to reduce the number of deaths from the deadly epidemic.
Statistics from the South Carolina department of alcohol and other drug abuse services show the total number of times Narcan was administered by both emergency medical services and law enforcement in 2017 was a total of 7,278 times.
That's up from a little over 6400 that took place in 2016.
Breaking those numbers down specifically for the Midlands the total number of deployments (which is the official word for administered) broken down by county.
Just to name a few totals, Lexington county is at 314 and Richland has the highest amount of deployments totaling at 355.
Linda Brown is the overdose prevention coordinator for the South Carolina department of alcohol and other drug abuse services and she says location is key in how the department determines where and how to institute prevention strategies.
Brown says, "We look at mortality, we look at Narcan administrations and we look at hospital burdens or hospital discharge codes for either overdose or infections.
Arnold Alier is the Division Director of EMS and DHEC (Department of health and environmental control) and Leon Coordinator. Leon is a program that trains law enforcement on when and how to administer Narcan.
Alier says, "The training covers the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to distinguish it from other kind of overdoses. Narcan is only affective and it only works on opioids. It doesn't work on alcohol meth, cocaine. To date we've trained over 6200 officers in the state."
Alier says the counties highly affected like Richland are properly armed with the training to administer Narcan. DHEC is looking to expand the program to fire departments across the state which is set to roll out in the fall of this year.