Today's free conference offers insight into addiction of painkillers

BY SHARRON HALEY
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 6/22/18

MANNING - More than 46 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of opioid overdoses nationally has continued to spiral out of control with …

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Today's free conference offers insight into addiction of painkillers

Posted

MANNING - More than 46 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of opioid overdoses nationally has continued to spiral out of control with increasing numbers of opioid overdose deaths beginning to show up in the South.

From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. today, Clarendon Behavioral Health Services is hosting "Painkillers: The Good, The Bad and The Truth" at Weldon Auditorium, 7 Maple St., for individuals, companies, organizations, governmental agencies or any other concerned groups.

The four-hour conference will offer insight into understanding opioid addiction and how it impacts our communities.

"We want to bring all aspects of the community together to discuss the problems, how to address the problems and possibly come up with workable solutions," Caroline Grant, prevention specialist at CBHS, said. "The conference is free and open to anyone who would like to attend."

Grant said the highlight of the conference is a personal story of opioid use.

"This young man agreed to share his story," she added. "It's quite compelling. It also shows that opioid addiction can be overcome."

During a luncheon in April, Clarendon County Sheriff Tim Baxley talked about opioid use in Clarendon County.

Baxley told the audience that while he was on his way to the luncheon he received word that someone had probably overdosed on opioids.

"The truth is drugs are prevalent - particularly opioid," he said.

Baxley said his deputies carry NARCAN, a drug used to block the effectiveness of opioids, so they can help save lives. He explained that many of the local drug addicts are aware the deputies have NARCAN, and deputies are making repeat trips to users because they know the deputies have the drug.

Baxley said it's like riding a Ferris wheel.

"We've already had to administer five doses since we got it," Baxley added at the luncheon.

At today's conference, Bradly C. Gerfin, director of Clarendon EMS/Cypress Transport, will describe how South Carolina and the nation have come to this state of crisis. He'll also provide information outlining Clarendon County's opioid abuse, substance abuse and suicide attempts. Gerfin will also share about opioid abuse and its impact on EMS and the community as a whole.

John E. Emmel, medical director for South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, will outline how opioid addiction is a chronic disease similar to diabetes. He'll also talk about how individuals need to be aware of the medications that are useful in treating opioid addiction.

The conference is sponsored by CHBS along with Clarendon County Government, Clarendon County Sheriff's Office, Tommy Benton, Law Firm of William H. Johnson, Kent Law Firm, Ray E. Chandler Law Firm, Coffey and McKenzie Law Firm and Land, Parker and Welch Law Firm.

What is an opioid?

Opioids are a broad group of pain-relieving drugs that work inside your cells to reduce a person's perception of pain while boosting their feeling of pleasure. These drugs are often used by doctors to help control acute pain.

Opioids include the illegal drug heroin. Synthetic opioids include fentanyl. Opioid pain relievers available legally by prescription include oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine and many others.

Brand name opioids include Demerol, Roxanol, Tylenol with Codeine, Robitussin A-C , OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet, Tylox, Dilaudid and others.

Opioids go by the street names of Captain Cody, Schoolboy, Doors & Fours, Loads, Miss Emma, Monkey, White Stuff, Demmies, Murder 8, Jackpot, Oxy 80, Oxycat, Hillbilly Heroin, Juice and a host of other names.