Havelock officials working to tackle opioid problem


HAVELOCK, Craven County - State officials said North Carolina averages three drug overdoses per day. Havelock's Fire and Rescue chief does not want to see that number grow. They are using a new approach to tackle the problems, too.

"This epidemic affects all all people all social economic people," said Rick Zaccardelli, Havelock Fire and Rescue chief. "There has been needles found in the parks they are along side the roads so it is a problem."

Instead of watching the epidemic continue destroying his local neighborhoods and households, the chief and the city have decided to take a stand with several initiatives. It starts with supplying law enforcement with Narcan.

"We already have Narcan and what's new to the City of Havelock is that our police will be able to administer Narcan," Zaccardelli said.

The initiative also consists of rescue kits people can take home in case of an overdose. The syringe exchange program will also allow people to give used needles back in exchange for clean ones. Officials said that program integrated with EMS is one of the first of its kind in the country.

"The controversy is are you enabling them are you assisting them are you an accomplice to there overdose and that's been shown not to be the case," said Dr. Stanley Koontz, EMS Medical Director for Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties.

According to the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the syringe exchange program doesn't cause drug increase. It is estimated that participants are five times more likely to enter drug treatment than non-participants.

"The intention is to try to give them sterile needles and to help them prevent disease and help them seek help when they are ready," Koontz said.

Officials said all three initiatives are set to start immediately in Havelock. Police officers who are in training for Narcan will begin carrying it by Friday. The program is expected to eventually happen throughout Craven County.