HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Every police officer in Horry County will soon carry the drug Narcan.
Narcan is a drug used to save the life of a person who has recently overdosed.
According to the Horry County Police Department, it's a necessity because officers respond to at least two to three heroin overdose calls a week.
According to Horry County Coroner Robert Edge, as of December 27, of 2016, 45 people died from a heroin overdose in Horry County.
And now in 2017, 40 cases are waiting for toxicology reports to determine if heroin was the cause for those deaths.
Edge says nine out of 10 heroin related deaths end up being overdoses.
A federal grant will fund the Narcan supply.
When the drug comes in, each individual officer will betrained on how to administer the drug.
They'll also learn what to do if they're out of the drug while on a call.
"If they do run out of the supply that they have, any scenario where they're waiting for another officer to come because they are out of the Narcan, the other officer should have a supply where that will be able to assist in that moment," Horry County Spokeswoman Krystal Dotson said.
It's no secret there's a heroin epidemic nationwide and here specifically in Horry County, so it's critical for officers to have Narcan.
Horry County Coroner Robert Edge says just this past weekend he responded to an overdose.
But while there are positives to the drug, there are also concerns.
Edge says the downside is once people learn officers have the drug on hand, you risk having people in the community become dependent on it.
Another conversation within the department is, what if the officer on a call runs out and the next officer is miles way or gets into an accident.
He says rural areas will be harder to get to.
That is a worst case scenario, but is a concern that's getting attention before the drug comes in.
The positive side is people can be saved.
And if officers are in a situation where they are accidently exposed to heroin for example, a fight with a suspect and the officer is stabbed with the needle the officers will be trained on how to use Narcan on themselves.
"It's not just for the people that are overdosed or in need of this is always for the protection for our officers and our first responders as well," Dotson said.
The Horry County Police Spokeswoman says once the drug is in, it will be something officers find very beneficial when they have it in their hands.
Every officer is expected to have the drug by the spring of this year.
When the Horry County Police Department receives the drug, its officers will be added to the list of those able to use Narcan from the Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach fire departments.