HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Police agencies from both Horry and Georgetown Counties are getting together for training on the life-saving drug, Narcan. It's part of a long-term plan created by the Drug Task Force, a group of local agencies with a goal to fight the drug problem.
Horry County formed a drug task force over a year ago. In late 2016, subcommittees were formed to focus on different drug-involved problems. Sgt. Tom DelPercio is with Horry County Police and the chairman of the law enforcement subcommittee for the heroin coalition.
Sgt. DelPercio said the subcommittee has focused efforts on getting all police agencies to carry the drug Naloxone, known as Narcan.
Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Horry County police have announced they will start carrying the life-saving drug. However, each must go through training with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, known as DHEC.
That training is part of DHEC's LEON Program, and is happening on Wednesday, March 22. Sgt. DelPercio told WMBF News more thank 50 instructors from 14 different agencies will be attending the training. It's happening in 'train the trainer' style.
"Our officers are not carrying Narcan, yet," North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Phil Webster said. "All of our fire apparatus do. We are working with the LEON Program to acquire Narcan and get our officers trained," he continued.
Representatives from those 14 agencies will attend the class and take back what they learned to their respective departments to teach the rest of the department. Sgt. DelPercio said this training and each individual agency creating its own protocol are the last steps before Narcan arrives in the officer's hands.
"We'll have the trainers in place, we'll be able to get with DHEC and say we now have our policy, we have our trainers...we need the product. We'll be able to apply and get the product very quickly, and get it out on the street," Sgt. DelPercio said.
Narcan only works on opioid overdoses. Sgt. DelPercio said it has no negative side effects, but it's not only for overdose victims. Narcan is also for police and K-9 officers who accidentally come in contact with a drug on the job, usually Fentanyl.
Sgt. DelPercio said once an officer administers Narcan, they'll have to log it through an online tracking system with DHEC. Next, the officer must explain when and why it was used before that officer's Narcan is replaced. Narcan is funded by a state grant, not local tax dollars.
First responders who administer the drug in good faith are protected under Good Samaritan law. Right now, EMS are the only people carrying Narcan.
Sgt. DelPercio said Narcan is a new type of policing. He said police will look for overdose signs when deciding to use Narcan. He said drugs is a problem in Horry County, and oftentimes people will wait to long before reporting an overdose. He also said sometimes it requires multiple doses of Narcan to revive someone, although an overdose is still possible hours after receiving the drug.
"People are given Naloxone or Narcan and bringing them back...and we'll try to follow up as law enforcement on the investigation with that victim or the person who's taken the opiate...and they've already left the hospital or refused treatment and went back to the street...and it's a dangerous situation because an overdose could actually re-occur," Sgt. DelPercio said.
The goal is to have Narcan on every officers once training ends and policies are put in to place with each individual agency.