Much like many other parts of America, South Carolina is not immune to the country’s growing opioid crisis, and a slew of recent deaths has inspired state legislators to take action. Currently, a patchwork of more than 10 bills is making it’s way through the SC legislature with the hopes of curbing the state’s growing rate of overdose deaths.
Many of the recent proposals were inspired by a panel commissioned by former Gov. Nikki Haley, now serving as the ambassador to the U.N. The panel found that South Carolina’s opioid addiction problems were even more widespread than previously thought, and suggested a multidisciplinary approach involving doctors, healthcare workers, pharmacies, and the patients themselves.
The new laws attempt to mirror this approach, but considering significant delays in the state legislative process, they may be too little, too late for many addiction sufferers in the hardest-hit areas of the state.
Proposed Laws Improve Training for Healthcare Workers, Allow People to Report Overdoses Without Fear of Prosecution
The laws currently working their way through the South Carolina Statehouse include:
- A law requiring health care workers to get advanced training on prescribing controlled substances
- A law allowing people to report overdoses without fear of being charged of a drug-related crime
- A law requiring doctors to check a state database before prescribing powerful painkillers that could result in addiction or overdose
- A law allowing pharmacies to act as drop off points for unused prescription drugs
If Bills Do Not Receive Priority in the SC State Senate, Citizens Could Be Left Waiting Another Year to See Them Pass
Some of South Carolina’s proposed addiction-related bills have already passed in the state’s house, and could be discussed in SC Senate session that ends on May 11 of this year. If the bills don’t get priority in the Senate, however, they may not reach the governor’s desk by 2017. That could mean that residents could be waiting a year or more to even see these policies fully approved, and even longer to see them fully enacted.
Currently, the only addiction-related bill that has recently passed the SC Senate and House is a bill mandating that health care professionals report when a baby is exposed to controlled substances.
SC’s Current Prescription Monitoring Program is Optional, But Enacting Stricter Controls on Prescription Opioids Could Have Serious Consequences
Currently SC’s prescription monitoring program is not mandatory, unlike the new law, which would make the program mandatory for all physicians and healthcare providers. The proposed law was partially inspired by Florida’s is mandatory prescription monitoring program, which some experts believe has reduced prescription drug abuse across the state. However, experts also warn that cutting down on South Carolina residents’ access to prescription opioids won’t help reduce addition on it’s own, and could even lead some people to turn to cheaper, riskier heroin.
In general, abusing heroin is much riskier than abusing prescription opioids, but that risk has now increased exponentially now that much of the heroin in the South Carolina is now cut with fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that’s up to 100x stronger than morphine
While specific laws aimed at reducing addiction may help slow the recent increase in statewide deaths, many say that more public funding for treatment centers may be the only sustainable way to address the state’s growing crisis. Experts believe that SC’s current addiction treatment system is severely underfunded, which prevents agencies from allotting the funds to build, staff, and maintain facilities. Those facilities could help thousands of residents combat their addictions by giving them high-quality, cost-effective opioid addiction treatment, something that’s currently difficult to find nearly anywhere in the state.
South Carolina is just one of the many states that have recently been forced to combat the nation’s growing opioid addiction crisis. Increasingly, states are finding that while tougher laws and greater restrictions on prescription drugs may have positive effects, it’s impossible to guarantee decreases in addiction without significantly increasing funding and availability of treatment for opioid addiction.
At Get Treatment, it’s our mission to help individuals across America find high-quality, caring, addiction treatment centers that can help them take back control over their health, their lives, and their futures.
That’s why each of Get Treatment’s network of professionally accredited, state-of-the-art facilities provides individualized addiction treatment plans based on the specific needs of each patient. In addition, each of our centers combines traditional, evidence-based treatments with holistic therapies to give patients access to variety of high-quality treatment options. If you or someone you love is looking for opioid addiction help, now is the time to take action. Call Get Treatment today to change your life forever.
And, if you live in South Carolina, check out our new listings for South Carolina addiction treatment centers.