South Carolina’s governor is calling an “opioid summit” to tackle abuse of the drugs across the state.
The summit will be held Sept. 6-7 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, featuring law enforcement, state and local agencies, health care professionals and other “concerned citizens” collaborating to come up with solutions to the issue.
“It is more critical than ever that we bring together every group that has a stake in the opioid crisis to combat what we now know is one of the most deadly health issues our state and country have faced in a generation,” said Gov. Henry McMaster
The governor’s office isn’t alone in focusing on the issue. In April, the S.C. House of Representatives named a special opioid abuse committee to recommend solutions to the epidemic. The committee is chaired by Rep. Eri Bedingfield, R-Greenville, whose son overdosed on the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Alan Wilson sued the company that manufactures OxyContin, claiming deceptive marketing was contributing to the crisis.
In 2015, there were 594 opioid-related overdose deaths in South Carolina – a 17 percent increase from the number of opioid deaths in 2014. Over the past 10 years, there has been a 135 percent increase in people using state services for opioid-related treatments.