Narcan Saves Lives – SC Legislation Will Make it More Readily Available

The SC Senate is considering a bill that would make Narcan, a drug used to prevent opioid overdose deaths, available to more people. The SC House already passed the bill unanimously.

Almost as many Americans are dying of opioid overdoses every year than died fighting the Vietnam War over two decades, and federal, state, and local officials nationwide are scrambling to react to the problem.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Surgeon General publicly called for the families of people at risk of opioid overdose to carry Narcan at all times.

The former head of the Federal Reserve blames the opioid crisis for an increase in the number of working-age men who don’t work. State legislatures are passing laws that make life-saving medications available, and that crack down on doctors prescribing opioids.

President Trump, of course, is calling for the death penalty for some drug dealers – a “solution” that is extreme, cruel, and, fortunately, unconstitutional.

Is the Opioid Problem Really That Bad?

In 2016, more than 40,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the United States. That’s a 400 percent increase over the number of opioid-related deaths in 1999 – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These numbers show the scale of the problem in South Carolina:

  • The CDC reports that South Carolina is among states that have seen a “significant increase” in the number of overdose deaths;
  • In 2016, 550 people died of opioid overdoses in South Carolina, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control;
  • EMS personnel administered life-saving drugs to patients who had overdosed 6,400 times in 2016 – a 39 percent increase over the year before;
  • The number of opioid overdose deaths surpassed the number of homicides in South Carolina for the first time in 2015;
  • The number of overdose deaths involving the street drug heroin increased by 67 percent between 2014 and 2015, and another 14 percent the following year; and
  • In Horry County, 101 people died of opioid overdoses in 2016, more than any other county in the state.

Obviously, the problem is real. Just as obviously, there is no quick fix.

But, of all the possible reactions, expanding access to and awareness of Narcan may prove the most effective at saving lives right now.

What Is Narcan?

Narcan is a brand name for the medication Naloxone.

By blocking the effects of opioids, it save the lives of people who are overdosing. It can be injected intravenously or into muscle tissue. It is also available as a nasal spray. Often, several doses of Narcan are needed to counter the effects of an overdose.

For now, all first responders in South Carolina, including police, firefighters, and EMS personnel, have access to and can administer Narcan. It is also available at pharmacies without a prescription.

The bill being considered in the SC Senate would make the medication available to public or private community organizations such as homeless shelters and advocacy groups. The people who work and volunteer at these kinds of organizations often maintain relationships with people who are at risk of overdose.

Is There A Downside to Expanding Access to Narcan?

No, there is not.

But unfortunately, plenty of Americans still cling to the flawed and failed attitudes of the War on Drugs, leading some critics to claim that expanded access to Narcan will make opioid users more likely to overdose because they know someone will save them.

These people have clearly never witnessed an opioid overdose – it’s an excruciating physical and psychological ordeal, and, while Narcan saves lives, it also leaves patients racked with withdrawals that include intense physical pain.

Opioid users don’t want to use Narcan, and they are not going to purposefully overdose because they know that Narcan is available…

SC Criminal Defense Lawyer in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Lexington

Criminal defense and DUI defense attorney Lacey Thompson only accepts SC criminal defense cases in the Columbia, Lexington, Conway, and Myrtle Beach SC areas. Call at 843-444-6122 or fill out our online contact form if you have questions or to set up a free initial consultation.


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