GREENWOOD COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – At Cornerstone, staff keeps track of drug overdoses in the Upstate.

Betsy Royal, a prevention specialist, said her team learned that many opioid overdoses in 2022 were happening in downtown Greenwood.

Cornerstone then partnered with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s office to try to prevent overdose deaths.

They chose to offer Narcan, the medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, to inmates when they are released from the detention center.

“We have a lot of inmates who come in, who have addiction, and are around people who have addiction,” said Greenwood County Sheriff Dennis Kelly.

Royal said when inmates are booked into the detention center, they will watch a video on how to use Narcan and how to identify the signs of an overdose.

They will be shown the same video right before they are released.

“When an inmate leaves the facility, if they have stopped use [of drugs] while they’re in jail, their tolerance would have dropped,” explained Royal. “If they were to continue use after they leave the premises, the likelihood of overdose is increased.”

Cornerstone hopes this program will allow them to connect with people who may not have sought help or treatment for their addictions.

“It was a way for us to break down barriers and increase our reach in the community,” said Royal.

“That’s what we’re about – changing lives as well as saving lives,” added Kelly.