SC awards $1.15 million to counties for opioid prevention

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Beaufort County and South Carolina’s 45 other counties will share equally in $1.15 million in federal State Opioid Response (SOR) funds to build on current efforts to address opioid/prescription drug misuse and abuse in local communities.

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, on behalf of the S.C. Governor’s Office, is awarding $25,000 per county to the state’s local alcohol and drug abuse authorities – in this case, the Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department. 

These county authorities will be required to develop formal agreements with their local partners, such as county/city government leaders, sheriffs, chiefs of police, school superintendents, etc., to demonstrate the local buy-in and capacity necessary for successful implementation of:

– Drug take-back events;

– Drug-deactivation bags/buckets;

– Prescription drug drop boxes;

– Public awareness campaign (i.e., local branding of DAODAS’ statewide “Just Plain Killers” campaign);

– Town hall meetings and community forums;

– Professional education for health professionals, law enforcement, school personnel, etc.; or

– Curriculum-based programs that have a focus on prescription drugs.

“The opioid epidemic has impacted every part of our state and country, which is why it’s so important to invest these funds in every county in the state,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in a release. “In order to eradicate this disease from our communities, we must continue to invest in evidence-based programs and initiatives, and make them available in every part of the state.”

Each county authority must plan, implement and evaluate a minimum of two pre-approved opioid prevention strategies from the list above to address the needs that have been identified in their city and/or county. “It is important that local partners collaborate with one another to reduce the impact of prescription drug use/misuse and to support achievement of the desired outcomes,” DAODAS Director Sara Goldsby said in a release. “Funds can also be used to build the capacity of county alcohol and drug staff and their local government partners.”

“It is extremely important that we invest these resources into evidence-informed programs and strategies that have proven to be effective in substance use prevention,” said Michelle Nienhius, Manager of Prevention and Intervention Services for DAODAS. “Reducing access, disseminating information to South Carolinians, providing training to professionals on best practices that have been proven to be effective, and reaching youth with education curricula that have documented outcomes are the most effective ways we can assist local communities across the state with impacting this crisis at the local level.”

The one-time SOR funds cannot be used to supplant existing funds. The sub-grants must be used to fund new projects or to expand/enhance existing projects. 

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