Should Berkeley County Deputies Carry Narcan

Should Berkeley County Deputies be required to carry and administer the lifesaving drug Narcan®?

Deputy Sheriff’s are often first to arrive on the scene of a medical emergency, which presents them with a unique opportunity to have an immediate impact on the effects of an opioid overdose. In the past deputies have been restricted in the level of care they can provide an individual suffering from an overdose, but times have changed and all lives matter.

I strongly believe the Sheriff’s Department should equip our deputies with this life-saving medication. If elected it is my intention to initiate a pilot program that would provide every Berkeley County Deputy in the field with this valuable tool.

Why do I feel this way? Law enforcement is tasked with saving lives. The single act of saving a human life is the most heroic duty any officer will ever perform. I believe county residents would feel better knowing our deputies have the most effective tools required to perform that duty well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States. From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose.

In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, killing an average of 190 people a day in our nation. More people died from drug overdoses in 2019 than from car accidents. Of those deaths 30 percent were the result of legitimately prescribed medications.

It is old-school thinking that believes it possible to arrest our way out of this situation. Our county needs a well thought out approach to the problem, followed-up with a multi-faceted plan addressing prevention with early intervention, positive support and rehabilitation. By implementing a comprehensive plan using proven innovative methods combined with non-traditional law enforcement roles, we can impact the tragedies brought about by this destructive opioid epidemic.

Narcan® is simple to use requiring minimal training and is almost risk free. It is dispensed through a nasal atomizer with one puff into the nostril of the patient. It is safe enough to be administered to any possible or suspected opioid overdose and children at least one year of age. Narcan® will not cure the addiction epidemic in this country.. but I strongly believe NOT using Narcan® to prevent the death of a person, that is probably dying right in front of you, is just plain wrong.

All deputies within the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department should be encouraged to reach out and engage with the community. We need deputies that are sufficiently geared and fully trained, willing and able to save a life whenever possible. Everyone should always be given “another chance” at living, and another opportunity to turn their lives around. Without Narcan® there is often no other choice, leading to a tragically sad and unnecessary death for family members, friends and loved ones to mourn.

* * This post was prompted by a question from Dwain Myers on my Facebook page.