Beaufort County, South Carolina, has felt the pain of the drug and opioid epidemic for far too long. The problem has been growing for years, and the opioid epidemic in Beaufort is the worst it has ever been. Since 2015, overdose deaths in the county have grown 366%! Deaths from opioid overdoses, in particular, since 2015 have also increased by 515%! Administrations of Naloxone, a nasal spray that can bring someone out of an opioid overdose, by emergency medical staff and law enforcement, have increased by 550% in the same period. And as of 2021, 58% of all overdose deaths in our county are due to opioids. And sadly, opiate overdose is now the leading cause of death among teens and adults under age 45. These increases are staggering and expected to continue.
Stigma is a “mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.” The stigma that our society associates with people needing substance abuse treatment, and substance users themselves in our society, impacts treatment-seeking behavior in individuals. “What will people think of me if I am getting drug treatment? How will I be treated differently?” Are questions asked when someone thinks about getting help? If we can change this stigma, more people may come forward looking for help instead of delaying treatment and potentially dying of an overdose.
The Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department (BCADAD), local hospitals, and Beaufort’s first responders are working together to address the opioid epidemic in our county. BCADAD applied and received grant funds to support initiatives such as community Naloxone distribution and education to increase the chance of saving someone’s life. Beaufort County now also has peer support personnel, staff in recovery from substance use, involved in substance abuse counseling, and emergency medical services. They act as both patient advocates and models for our patients to relate to throughout the treatment and recovery process. Beaufort County is hopeful that these efforts will help create more welcoming and empathetic conditions for people to get the help they need. If you want to learn more, please contact:
Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department at
843-255-6000 for Beaufort
843-255-6020 for Bluffton & Hilton Head.