EMS director discuses drug overdoses

By Amanda Dodson - adodson@thestokesnews.com

In the past year, Stokes County Sheriff’s Office has used Narcan, a narcotic blocker used to treat narcotic drug overdoses, five times and the City of King Police have used it four times, according to a recent release from Stokes County Emergency Medical Service.

“Those numbers may be a little higher now,” said EMS Director Brian Booe, “But I believe there’s been more community awareness and community involvement to try and get a handle on the situation. Sometimes it’s not always Stokes County residents. It may be someone that’s traveling through and decides to stop here and get high.”

The county received grant funding by CenterPoint Human Services for the initial distribution of Narcan. Approximately 115 law enforcement officers, including Hanging Rock State Park Rangers personnel have been trained to administer the medication used to block the effects of opioids.

Booe said when Narcan was first introduced in the county, some physicians were skeptical of the medication.

“We look at it from the perspective if we can give a person another opportunity to seek out mental health assistance, that’s what we want to do. But if they don’t have anywhere to go, we know they could possibly be a repeat offender.”

Since 2010, Booe has also been a strong proponent of Operation Medicine Drop which encourages the public to safely dispose of unused, unwanted and expired medication.

“It helps reduce the potential of accidental overdoses. It also keeps someone from breaking into your home, taking those medications and using them or selling them illegally,” he said.

Just last week, Booe collected medication dating back to 1966 and 1967 and while he was pleased to see it properly disposed of, he hopes more people in the community utilize one of the county’s drop off sites located at the Stokes County Sheriff’s Office in Danbury, City of King Police Department and the License Plate Agency in Walnut Cove.

“I think it’s been a positive thing and people are more aware of it. I hope everyone can stay on the same page and be proactive about these issues because the problems aren’t going away.”

Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.

By Amanda Dodson