Clarendon group sponsors permanent new medicine drop-off point

Leader hopes effort will help combat opioid abuse

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MANNING - Opioid abuse and misuse in Clarendon County is a big problem, according to a survey conducted by Clarendon Behavioral Health Service.

Eight out of every 10 people who took the survey considered opioid abuse a "big problem" in Clarendon County. More than 35 percent of those who took the survey admitted to disposing of their unused medications by "flushing them down the toilet." More than 35 percent of the people who took the survey said they thought that the people who misused medications got them "from a doctor or from pharmacy shopping."

"In Clarendon County in 2015, we had one death that we know of that was due to opioid overdose," said Ann Kirven, chief executive officer of Clarendon BHS. "We had three deaths in 2016. Last year, EMS administered 33 doses of naloxone to people who were in distress due to an overdose."

"We are fortunate to not have any deaths to opioid abuse or misuse in Clarendon County so far this year," Kirven added. "But we are seeing more clients with this diagnosis, and we know that there will be more cases of abuse or misuse if we are not vigilant in discarding unused medicines."

In an effort to remove unused medications from possible consumption, Clarendon BHS is sponsoring a new, permanent prescription take-back drop box in the lobby of Clarendon County Sheriff's Office, 217 Commerce St. in Manning.

"We received the drop box through a grant from the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services," Kirven added. "The prescription drop box will allow all of the county's residents to have a ready and easy access to dispose of unused and unwanted medications."

Kirven said her office would thank Sheriff Tim Baxley and the sheriff's office as well as Shayne Stephens, owner of Stephens Funeral Home in Manning, for participating in the project and for encouraging everyone to utilize this new service.

All medications to be disposed of should be transported to the sheriff's office in their proper containers with all personal identifying information marked off the bottles or containers with the name of the medication still visible.

Kirven said Clarendon BHS prefers that individuals do not transport the medication already in a bag to put into the drop box.

"If an individual is stopped by a law enforcement officer with a bag full of pills, they could be charged," she said. "Just bring the medications. Dump the medicine in the drop box, and put the pill containers or bottles in the trash can next to the box."

Kirven said she hopes the drop box will help diminish the problem before it gets any worse.