Tags: south carolina | health crisis | opioids | pain killers

South Carolina Declares Health Crisis; Pain Killers Curbed

Image: South Carolina Declares Health Crisis; Pain Killers Curbed
(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 December 2017 11:18 AM

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a statewide public health emergency and ordered the prescribing of highly-addictive opioid pain killers to be dramatically cut.

The order came as McMaster revealed that opioid-related overdose deaths in the Palmetto State skyrocketed from 504 in 2014 to 616 in 2016.

"The opioid crisis is one that has invaded so many aspects of the lives of South Carolinians and of families across the country," McMaster said Monday.

The number of opioid pills patients can get from their doctors to relieve short-term pain or discomfort after surgery will be limited to five days for those on Medicaid or state health plans. A refill must be OK'd by the physician.

"Some people walk out of the hospital with 60 or 90 pills in one prescription, and they don't need that many. They're carrying around, potentially, an addiction for somebody else," McMaster said.

The governor also announced the creation of an "Opioid Emergency Response Team" – a task force of state agencies, healthcare experts and law enforcement – who will formulate a battle plan to fight opioid addition.

It won't be easy, state officials admit.

"Unfortunately, we know that we have not yet reached the peak of the opioid crisis," said Sara Goldsby, Interim Director of Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.

"While our work in South Carolina is urgent and ongoing, cross-sector coordination is key to comprehensively addressing this public health crisis and its related consequences. The Opioid Emergency Response Team that the governor is establishing can strategically optimize information, data, and partnerships.

"The attention and response at this level also will help reduce the stigma of addiction that in part fuels the problem."

One of the key drugs in the crisis is fentanyl – the pain killing opioid CNN reports was responsible for the death of beloved pop star Prince and which is in some cases up to 50 times stronger than heroin.

The State Law Enforcement Division said that since 2015, South Carolina has had a 650 percent increase in the number of drug cases involving fentanyl.

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a statewide public health emergency and ordered the prescribing of highly-addictive opioid pain killers to be dramatically cut.
south carolina, health crisis, opioids, pain killers
346
2017-18-19
Tuesday, 19 December 2017 11:18 AM
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