York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson honored four county residents Wednesday for saving the lives of two neighbors.
“Though these four citizens claim it was just the right thing to do,” Tolson said, “they deserve recognition for their quick heroic actions to save lives.”
On Aug. 30, a man and woman were passed out in a running but stopped vehicle at Hands Mill and Charlotte highways in Lake Wylie.
“This is what the opioid crisis looks like, in one of the busiest intersections of York County, sitting in traffic, inside a running vehicle, these people collapse from an overdose,” Tolson said. “This epidemic has become such an overwhelming issue to where now our citizens have also become first responders to save lives.”
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When deputies arrived at the intersection, they found Anthony Farmer, Jennifer Lopez and April Weaver performing CPR on a man and woman.
Jeremy Morris had called 911, and also helped pull the man and woman out of the truck. Morris moved the truck out of the roadway and returned to assist with CPR.
“Both subjects who overdosed survived, but it’s my belief that they would not have done so without the quick help from these individuals,” said senior deputy Chris Penland, who along with emergency responders administered the NARCAN, used to counteract the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose.
Cases of opioid use and overdoses are being addressed in York County. After 50 drug overdose deaths in 2016 and 45 more in 2017, York County filed a lawsuit suing almost 50 drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and physicians.
The suit referred to widespread opioid use and the prevalent prescribing of opioids as a “man-made pandemic.”
Statewide, Gov. Henry McMaster in June detailed an opioid emergency response plan detailing strategies to combat the opioid problem. He formed an opioid emergency response team late last year.
“We know it has a law enforcement aspect, a strong one, but also it’s a health question,” McMaster said last month during the governor’s opioid summit. “It transcends everything that goes on in South Carolina.”
McMaster said decades ago the issue was drugs coming into South Carolina, and it took agencies partnering to stop it.
“This is a crisis just as big, or perhaps even worse, than that one was,” McMaster said. “The opioid crisis is killing people.”