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Fire/Rescue Division will now carry Narcan

Posted on Sep 15, 2016

By Pat Dowling
Emergency medical technicians within the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety’s Fire/Rescue Division will now carry the lifesaving drug, Narcan. Previously only certified paramedics were allowed to administer Narcan in South Carolina, however, the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) has approved Narcan use by emergency medical technicians with the approval of a department’s medical director.
Narcan is used for individuals who have overdosed on Opioid drugs such as Heroin, Fentanyl, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Demerol and Percocet. Narcan is used when individuals are found to be unresponsive, have little or no respirations and exhibit pinpoint pupils. Narcan is pushed into an individual’s nose via a misting device, similar to a nasal spray. The drug quickly reduces the effects of Opiods in the body, allowing an individual to begin breathing again.
In 2013 there were 24,500 deaths in the United States due to Opioid overdose or an average of one life every 21 minutes.
Since March 2016, North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety detectives have logged 30 known overdoses of heroin/fentanyl with four being fatal. This does not include any Opioid-based pills.
According to DHEC, there are currently only three other fire departments in South Carolina that allow their emergency medical technicians to administer Narcan. In our area, the Myrtle Beach Fire Department also recently began to carry Narcan.
In 2015 Horry County was second in the state for Narcan use. Greenville County was first with 709.
The numbers this year for Narcan use in Horry County is already surpassing what Greenville County did during all of 2015 and will likely exceed 1,000 by the end of the year. That equates to about 20 percent of the entire state’s use of Narcan by emergency medical technicians by only 6 percent of the state’s population.

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