Greenville Co. Sheriff starts GONE program to combat opioid epid - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville Co. Sheriff starts GONE program to combat opioid epidemic

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GONE program to combat opiod epidemic. (7/18/17 FOX Carolina) GONE program to combat opiod epidemic. (7/18/17 FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate sheriff is working to curb the opioid crisis with a new program called GONE.

"A guy I used to work with in Greenville was one of the first overdoses I saw on fentanyl. And it was here in Greenville," Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis said.  "When it comes to the opioid epidemic, no one is the exception.  That sent a lot of us spiraling thinking 'if he could do this, who else is doing this?'"

Sheriff Lewis has worked in narcotics. He's listened to parents who have lost children.

"I don't have the answer to this and I don't have the solution to this problem is, but Greenville is also a great town, and I'm pretty sure we can find enough people in a room with a solution for us."

He's gotten call, after call all revolving around the opioid problem. So he's bringing in 15 upstate agencies, community activists and business owners to come up with a game plan on how tackle opioids now. Calling it "GONE," or Greenville's Opioid Narcotic Eradication."

Sheriff Lewis said Greenville County has seen a 300 percent uptick in overdoses since 2013. Narcan, a drug created to save lives during an overdose has been administered 31 times in the county just this year, counting for a staggering proportion of the 73 times it was administered statewide.

"A cop can do it, nurse can do it, a police can do it, a lawyer can do it, a street junkie, a kid can do it - we've seen it all, and I think the scariest part is that you just can't track it," Sheriff Lewis said. 

His goal is to have one initial meeting for brainstorming and then move past the round table to turn ideas into action. 

"We need to come together jointly to come up with an enforcement,  a legislative, and a recovery branch - all three combined that work in unison together to move forward."

He explained these drugs hit every socioeconomic level, every race, every gender.

GONE will be bringing in legislators and people who understand how this problem can impact those right next to you. 

"One community activist, she's been through personal traumatic experience,with a family member that she's lost to heroin. We hope those voices will come to the table and say 'those are great and all but let me tell you why it's not gonna work on the street.' Because that's really where it counts is where the rubber meets the road."

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