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Opioid death numbers in South Carolina keep rising

The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) reports that there were 1,103 overdose-related deaths in 2018, with 816 connected to opioids.

Although the Midlands counties are seeing an upward trend, Richland County is experiencing the opposite.

Richland County Coroner’s Office reported 90 such deaths in 2017 and 71 in 2019.

Gary Watts, Richland County Coroner, said that they often deal with opioid deaths – with his team seeing up to two such cases per week.

Ashley Bodiford of LRADAC, a drug and alcohol abuse organisation, said that the situation is more severe, calling it a public health emergency and epidemic in one.

Since there are so many tragic deaths that result from it, there is still much work to be done.

In November, LRADAC received a $50,000 grant to go towards clearing up the opioid crisis confusion.

Up to this point, the organisation has also received many other similar grants.

Bodiford warns that there is a misconception about opioid safety due to the scale of prescribing.

But they are safe as long as people follow the prescription when using them.

Watts said that, about four years ago, law enforcement agencies attempted to take some opioid suppliers off the streets, but the mission is far from over.

Since everyone is affected, he views this as a community problem.

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