Statewide opioid crisis program saves lives in the Grand Strand

South Carolina statewide opioid crisis program saving local lives

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A statewide initiative by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has saved lives here in the Grand Strand.

The program is called the Community Outreach Paramedic Education, or COPE for short. It has been used across the state for a little over a month.

Locals first responders trained for this program said it can’t guarantee it’ll get rid of the opioid crisis but it’s helping one step at a time.

The program allows specially-trained first responders to visit a person who they’ve helped in a previous emergency. They receive a contact list from a DHEC database of people they’ve given Narcan to in the past. Then they have the opportunity to search for the person three times. If they’re unsuccessful, they’ll remove the person from their database.

Myrtle Beach Fire Department Lt. Dwayne Wright said they’ll visit a patient during a non-emergency and so far they’ve assessed them with two paramedics, police and a mental health counselor.

Wright said he remembers one man the department has helped with the program and the experienced has touched him.

“He was very humble by what we were doing, because yes, he admitted he received Narcan from us and he needed help and no one’s ever offered to help him," Wright said. "He was very touched that the police and fire department were there to help him. It touched me with his reaction to what we were doing.”

Wright said of the 11 people they’ve helped, three of them reached out to emergency responders while they were helping someone else because they wanted the help too.

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