Just Plain Killers

Combating Opioid Abuse

January 11, 2018 - 11:13 am

JANUARY 11, 2018 BY RENEE SEXTON (South Carolina Radio Network)

Painkillers can be “Just Plain Killers.”

That’s the message from the state of South Carolina as it announces a new campaign to combat the state’s opioid overdose crisis.

Governor Henry McMaster announced the new moniker Wednesday in a press conference at the Statehouse. “This is a way, with an education campaign, to let the citizens themselves: the mothers, the fathers, the children, the aunts, the uncles, the neighbors, the friends, anyone, to have access to all the information that they need,” McMaster said.

550 people died in South Carolina from prescription overdoses in 2016, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Overall, 616 died from overdoses of all opioids, also including fentanyl, heroin or some combination, in addition to prescription-based drugs.

“The government certainly can not do it alone,” McMaster said. “There’ll never be enough money. As I’ve said when we try to fund government services, we have a 6-foot bed but a 4-foot blanket. There’ll never be enough money.”

McMaster declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency last year.  Meanwhile, the House formed a special committee to investigate the issue. That House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee released its report on Wednesday.

“We heard over and over again how addiction is too often stigmatized,” Chairman Eric Bedingfield, R-Belton, who lost a son to an opioid overdose, said. “We need to reframe the conversation, and public education is the key. This campaign will be a critical tool for raising awareness and educating South Carolinians on the devastating effects of this disease, serving as an incredibly important component on the statewide effort to rid South Carolina of this terrible problem.”

The campaign includes television spots to air statewide and a website that includes information for people who are seeking help for someone who needs it. It will be funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“This really isn’t just a government issue as we’re discovering,” Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) director Sara Goldsby said. “State leaders can pass laws and we can share resources provide services, increase awareness. But we need the involvement of everyone in South Carolina to combat this epidemic.”

Part of the campaign encourages state residents to take a pledge to educate themselves and their loved ones about the dangers of opioid abuse.

Click here to vist the new website.

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