Opioid Abuse, Overdoses on the Rise Nationally, in SC

FILE- In this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 file photograph, a small bottle of the opiate overdose treatment drug, naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is displayed at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J. Naloxone works by blocking the brain receptors that opiates latch onto and helping the body "remember" to take in air. the treatment drug works most of the time, but national statistics aren’t kept on what happens to people who are revived. Some overdose again soon afterward. Some get treatment and get clean, but limited insurance, high costs and a shortage of spots at treatment centers can be hurdles. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)

Opioid use and abuse. It’s a growing trend around the country and even in places like Hilton Head are not immune to it. Drugs like heroin. Things that could get you high but also potentially kill you.

That’s why paramedics on Hilton Head are prepared with one shot which could potentially save a life.

“You can do it intravenous, you can do it intramuscular, and you can do it nasal administration,” explained Hilton Head Deputy Fire Chief Michael Mayers.

Hilton Head Fire Deputy Chief Michael Mayers is talking about Narcan.

“If they have had an opioid overdoes it will help them increase their breathing rate, it helps increase their respiratory drive,” said Mayers.

The latest tool in a paramedics box to help deal with overdoses.

“It’s not going to hurt them if they aren’t having an opioid overdose,” says Mayers. “If they have had an opioid overdose it will help them increase their breathing rate, it helps increase their respiratory drive.”

When it comes to opioid overdoses, help is need seemingly everywhere.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid related deaths have almost tripled in the past three years.

Heroin deaths have jumped 6 fold since 2012.

The number of Narcan doses given out in South Carolina rose almost 40% in the past year.

There have been 5 overdoses this month alone in Beaufort County

“We have a 50% increase in our Narcan administration each year for the past three years. and we have had an increase in what we call suspected overdoses,” said Mayers.

Despite those numbers. Mayers says Opioid abuse is not a big deal on Hilton Head.

“When you are talking about numbers that low of a number like we have in Hilton Head, just a couple numbers turns it into a wild trend,” said Mayers.

But drug misuse can be.

“You also see overdoses in elderly population because they mistakenly take the same medicine twice in that day,” said Mayers.

Firefighters in Burton just started carrying the drug and in fact had to use it in their first weekend on the job with it in the ambulances.

Beaufort Fire-Rescue is debating whether their paramedics will be carrying Narcan as well.

All these EMS professionals job is simple, to help protect everyone out there if and when something like this happens.

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