Aiken County fights against opioid epidemic

Aiken County fights against opioid epidemic
NARCAN (Source: Mary Klingler)

AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - The national opioid overdose death rate continues to rise, but the Aiken Community fights back. Unfortunately, no community is exempt from the opioid epidemic and the Aiken Center for Alcohol and Other Drug services is working to make NARCAN more readily available to the public.

Opioid overdose deaths have risen tremendously over the past decade. According to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from opioid overdose jumped from around 8,000 in 1999 to over 47,000 in 2017. That rate continues to climb.

On Friday afternoons starting Sept. 6, you can visit the Aiken Center to get NARCAN and you may qualify to receive it for free. Executive Director of the Aiken Center, Margaret Key says, “Just walk in, no appointment needed. Come in, uninsured folks, low income, under insured, just come in. If you have a question, we’ll have a little information. We’ll have on-site NARCAN if you qualify. No cost, you’ll walk out the door with it and could save a life.”

The Aiken Center’s program is working to create an open prescription for NARCAN. This means anyone can walk into their pharmacy and get it without visiting their doctor first.

The Aiken Center and service providers from the CSRA met to discuss the need for NARCAN in their facilities.

Whitney O’Conner with Arora Pavilion Behavior Health says, “We do see a lot of folks that have overdose and have had the need for NARCAN, so having this accessible for the community is really, really amazing.”

The Aiken Center for Alcohol and other drug services hopes as a result of this program, NARCAN will become a common first-aid kit item, and potentially save lives.

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