As of Oct. 21, South Carolinian firefighters administered opioid overdose antidotes to 200 people this year.
The firefighters administered nasal naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose from heroin, prescription opioids, and fentanyl when administered in time.
Fire departments can request training on how to administer naloxone from the Reducing Opioid Loss of Life (ROLL) program. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Bureau of Emergency Medical Services administers the program.
Since the program launched in 2017, more than 1,700 firefighters statewide have been trained.
“The expansion of ROLL this year couldn’t have come at a more important time, allowing more first responder fire departments to respond to significant increases in suspected overdoses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Arnold Alier, DHEC’s Emergency Medical Services director, said. “As more departments have come on board in our state, often in rural areas or counties where EMS resources are already stretched thin, they have become key players in the fight to save lives in the opioid crisis.”
ROLL complements the Law Enforcement Officer Naloxone program that trains police officers on how to prevent opioid overdoses.
Since launching in 2015, the program has trained and equipped more than 10,000 police officers.