The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recently issued a health advisory to provide prescribers and prescription drug dispensers with preventive strategies to decrease opioid overdoses.
Opioid overdoses are 50 percent higher than last year, although they have decreased since May.
Overdoses increased for both prescription opioids and illicitly manufactured substances, according to preliminary year-to-date data.
EMS personnel responded to a record high 915 suspected opioid overdoses in May, nearly twice compared to 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to contribute to elevated overdoses risk, DHEC said.
“There are many resources available to help prevent, respond and treat opioid use disorder,” Emma Kennedy, DHEC Division of Injury and Substance Abuse Prevention director, said. “We encourage people to use these resources to learn about the risks of opioids, about opioid antidotes, and where to get them and learn how to help people struggling with opioid use disorder find the right care and treatment. Everyone has a role to play.”
The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services’ system lists accredited service providers for South Carolinians who need treatment services.
The state will offer additional locations for the disposal of unused or expired prescription drugs for National Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 24.