The opioid epidemic is a confirmed public health emergency in South Carolina, with overdose rates continuing to rise significantly each year. In 2020, there were more than 1, 700 confirmed drug overdose deaths, more than 80 percent of those deaths involved opioids, and the numbers continue to climb.
The Columbia Police Department officers were trained in the administration of naloxone by CPD as part of the Law Enforcement Officers Naloxone (LEON) program. This program is a statewide effort that makes naloxone available to officers throughout the state and trains them in how to recognize an overdose and administer naloxone to assist an individual until EMS arrives.
As of this year, training has occurred for 14,072 officers, and more than 3, 400 overdoses have been reversed by officers trained through the LEON program since its inception in 2016.
Governor McMaster has presented the officers with a symbolic challenge coin. In addition, Chief W.H. ‘Skip’ Holbrook presented them with a certificate for their life-saving efforts of administering naloxone in an emergency situation.
Chief says, “I commend you for a job well done!”