A 24-year-old man was saved from a life-threatening heroin overdose because of the quick action of two residents and a Sumter Police officer equipped with an opioid overdose antidote.
Officers were notified of the man's condition after two people saw him slumped over the steering wheel of a parked vehicle on West Hampton Avenue Saturday afternoon.
The two people, one of them a registered nurse, pulled the man from the vehicle and alerted the responding officer, Officer 1st Class Devin Johnson, to the drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle, according a release from the police department.
The man regained consciousness after Johnson administered two doses of Narcan, a nasal spray that can counteract an overdose from heroin and other opioid drugs. The man was transported by EMS to Palmetto Health Tuomey for further treatment.
The outcome for this young man could have been much worse if not for the quick and observant actions of those residents, said Chief Russell F. Roark III in the release. "We're thankful that our officers are prepared and trained to handle situations like this," he added.
Tonyia McGirt, public information officer for the police department, said Saturday was the first time a Sumter Police Department officer has had to administer the antidote.
Though heroin-related incidents have not been as prevalent here as in other parts of the state, McGirt said Sumter is not immune to heroin and other opioid drug sales and use. Two arrests last week involving the confiscation of enough heroin for about 6,000 injections demonstrates its prevalence locally, she said.
Officers were equipped with Narcan in 2016 after receiving Law Enforcement Officers Naloxone Training. The training - developed by the Anderson County EMS and Special Services Division, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's Bureau of EMS, S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, the 5th Circuit Solicitor's Office and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office - prepares officers to administer the overdose antidote if they are the first on the scene.
Since 2016, Sumter Police Department has been focused on preparing officers to respond to opioid-related calls, keeping personal and public safety in mind, and using proactive measures to curtail the illegal sale and abuse of these potentially deadly drugs.
Sumter Police Department, Sumter County Sheriff's Office and Sumter County Emergency Medical Services are the only city and county first responder agencies in Sumter that carry opioid overdose antidotes.
DRUG TAKE BACK DAY
Residents can also make a difference by safely disposing unwanted prescription pills from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the police department, 107 E. Hampton Ave., or Sumter County Sheriff's Office, 1281 N. Main St., for National Drug Take Back Day. Creams, liquids and sharp objects such as syringes will not be accepted.
For more information, contact the Sumter Police Department at (803) 436-2700 or Sumter County Sheriff's Office at (803) 436-2000.
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