CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — A shortage of the life-saving drug naloxone has first responders worried.
What You Need To Know
Naloxone is a drug that helps reverse opioid overdoses
Emergency responders have been getting naloxone kits for free or a discounted price for the last few years
Pfizer, one of the manufacturers, announced in the spring its supplies of the drug were depleted
Deputies and police officers are often the first to respond to a potential overdose call and say if they didn't have the drug on hand, the number of fatal overdoses could rise
Naloxone is used by law enforcement when faced with a person who has overdosed on opioids.
Pfizer, one of the manufacturers, announced its supply of single and multi-doses are depleted.
Ryan Jones is a deputy with Cleveland County Sheriff's office.
He was born in Shelby and grew up in Boiling Springs and has been with the department for four years.
He said, growing up, his family taught him to live a life of service, and he decided to help his community by getting drugs off the streets.
Jones started as a patrol officer and wants to join the community interdiction team.
According to the Cleveland County 911, between August and September of this year, it has received 64 overdose calls.
It received 46 during the same two months in 2020.
During his most recent overdose calls, Jones has seen a trend in fentanyl pressed pills.
“Especially lately, we’ve had a lot of counterfeit fentanyl pills. People are buying fentanyl and pressing it to look like prescribed pills, especially Xanax, and Roxycodone. People don’t know what they’re actually getting and how much fentanyl is actually in it. So somebody might take these pills often, but they may get a bad batch where its just full of fentanyl, it's not what their body can handle. It's not what they’re used to," Jones said.
In his patrol car, Jones carries a naloxone kit. He says Cleveland County EMS has been supplying them.
On his uniform, Jones wears a badge, which he was honored with for saving multiple lives during overdose calls. He has administered naloxone at least eight times, and about half of those were saves thanks to his fast response time and the naloxone kit at hand's reach.
Jones hopes EMS can continue to supply the drug, but if they begin to run out, he says there's not much he can do when responding to those overdose calls.