Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) – Last month, Irmo police officers received training that could make the difference between life and death in someone who is overdosing on a narcotic. They were trained in the use and administration of Narcan, an easy to give medication that can quickly reverse the effects of the narcotic on the body.
Most know that the overuse of opiates in SC and the USA has reached a crisis level. Opiates, drugs like the natural version derived from the poppy plant, include opium, morphine, codeine, or thebaine. Their synthetic versions, drugs like hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, or methadone are just as dangerous if they’re misused. In the past few years, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from the overuse of these drugs. It’s become such a problem, President Trump and SC’s Governor Henry McMaster have declared the issues of their misuse a public health emergency.
Opiates are great when used as directed to control severe pain. When overused, they can suppress a victim’s respiratory system and their body literally stops breathing, causing them to suffocate. For people who’ve made this mistake, Narcan can be the difference between living and dying.
Now, officers with the Irmo PD are trained to recognize the signs of a patient who's overdosing, and then simply give the drug Narcan to that person. Although the drug can be administered in several ways, Irmo’s officers are being issued a simply nasal spray. It can immediately reverse the deadly effects of the narcotic if it’s given soon enough. Officers are often the first on the scene, and the speed at which the drug is administered is important. Since the State of SC provides the Narcan at no cost to departments with trained officers, it’s a win-win for the residents or visitors to the town who may be struggling with addiction.
Irmo Police Department’s leaders have made it clear that they will still investigate all drug use within the town fully. They are not a rehabilitation agency and will enforce the law. What they don’t want is for friends or family members who are with someone who’s using drugs and appears to be overdosing not to call them. Officers are usually the first to arrive on scene and every second is vital when a life hangs in the balance.
To learn more about what’s happening with the Irmo PD, visit their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/IrmoPoliceDepartment/posts/10156061570047199