With the prescription drug abuse and overdose affecting millions of people across the nation, lawmakers in South Carolina are planning to boost drug addiction treatment in the state by providing $1.5 million fund for the purpose.
Hence, to realign the two chambers and arrive at a consensus, mitigating any differences between them, six members of the state House and Senate met in May. The discussion hovered around a bevy of topics, including spending money on addiction counseling, medication-assisted treatment programs, and other programs to help people wean off pain medicines and heroin. The aforementioned amount was not part of the budget, allocated earlier.
South Carolina is already reeling under massive opioid casualties. Thus, the decision has come at an apt time. Over 560 people died in the state in 2015 because of an opioid or heroin overdose. People often resort to heroin when they no longer have access to prescription pain pills.
However, efforts by House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville, and other representatives to allocate additional funds towards studying how prescription opioids and heroin is plundering the state is commendable. Any information about the impact of opioids on people will surely provide a head start to combat this colossal problem.
The additional fund allocation at the last minute to the House budget in the session shows the determination and intent of the state authorities. It is taking cognizance of the addiction problem and its effects on the state, said Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville. He further noted that the $1.5 million in the House budget is tantamount to admitting that legislative changes alone cannot tackle the addiction problem in the state. Reinforcing it with financial assistance is the way forward.
Another legislator, Rep. Russell Fry, R-North Myrtle Beach, also lauded this move, saying it will help people in giving up dependence on drugs. Russell actively helps the House on addiction-related issues and is pleased to see the state taking this opioid epidemic seriously.
Apart from infusing this financial boost in fighting opioid addiction in the state, Bedingfield and other lawmakers passed other legislations last week, which would permit pharmacies to take back prescription pain pills from patients. It would also mandate South Carolina physicians to check a database prior to prescribing highly addictive medicines.
The state is also closely monitoring an additional surge in treatment need, anticipating that people would swerve towards other illegal substances, as the state continues to curtail access to prescription pills through regular crackdowns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths in the U.S. have quadrupled since 1999, including the sales of prescription drugs. Hence, it calls for legislations (like this one) to bring about a change in ways physicians prescribe opioids in the country. From 1999 to 2015, over 183,000 people have succumbed to overdoses involving prescription opioids, the CDC states. Besides, enhancing treatment avenues is also an excellent way to thwart this epidemic.
Any kind of addiction, be it to prescription opioids, illicit drugs, marijuana or alcohol, is a quagmire, jeopardizing the lives of people. And when it becomes chronic and severe, it turns fatal. However, it is not the end of the road for someone who has started abusing any substance. With treatment, one can gain sobriety and realign to the mainstream. Thus, if you have a loved one battling an addiction, call our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 for immediate assistance. Our experts can provide you with all relevant information on drug and alcohol treatment centers best suited to your needs.