Columbia Police Chief W.H. ‘Skip’ Holbrook announces that several police officers have been recognized by Governor Henry McMaster for saving a life by administering the overdose-reversal drug naloxone during emergency calls for service.
According to health experts, the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency with overdose rates climbing. In South Carolina, there were more than 1,100 drug overdose deaths, and more than 75 percent of those deaths involved opioids.
In 2015, new legislation was passed in South Carolina, regarding opioid prevention. As a result, all CPD officers have been trained and equipped with opioid reversal medication, which can be administered to persons experiencing an opioid overdose, themselves or K9s.
Through a partnership with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Columbia Police Department (CPD) officers have been equipped with naloxone. Specifically, since 2017, (CPD) officers have been administering naloxone to persons experiencing an opioid overdose.
CPD officers are trained annually in the administration of naloxone through the Law Enforcement Officers Naloxone (LEON), a statewide effort that makes naloxone available to officers throughout the state and trains them in how to recognize overdose and administer naloxone to assist an individual until EMS arrives.
The LEON Program is made possible by a federal grant to prevent prescription drug, opioid overdose related deaths. The program was created by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).