NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Deputies in the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office will soon carry Naloxone with them at all times.
Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioids and is used to treat a heroin overdose in an emergency situation.
"99.9 percent of the time we are going to be the first ones at a scene," explained Deputy Chief Charles Miller, with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
He says Naloxone has the ability to bring someone back to life who has overdosed on heroin. If deputies are carrying it, and are the first ones on a scene, they can go ahead and administer it while waiting for EMS. If the person is not overdosing, the Naloxone will not hurt them.
"If someone gives them a dose more than they might have needed, it can't hurt them," explained Robert Childs, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. "All it will do is ensure that the life is saved which is fantastic."
Heroin is a huge problem in Brunswick County. The county has the second highest heroin overdose rate in our state. This year alone, 16 people have died from heroin overdoses in Brunswick County.
"We can't arrest away this problem," Childs said. "This is something that we felt very strongly about, and if we could take [Naloxone] and save a persons' life, it is worth the training and any associated cost that may be incurred because of that."
N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition gave the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office 60 doses of Naloxone. Childs trained deputies on how to administer it.
He said already the medicine has saved close to 1,500 lives in North Carolina alone.
Both the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition and the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office will be working to get more doses of Naloxone.
"Our hope is to have every person who encounters [a potential overdose], whether it is our detention officer, or an officer on the street, a narcotics officer, myself, or even the sheriff himself to have access to [Naloxone] because you never know who is going to be the closest at the time of a call," Miller said.
He said the goal is to have deputies carrying Naloxone by Christmas.