South Carolina Addiction Treatment and Info

The world as a whole is staggering under the weight of drug and substance abuse. The U.S is, by some distance, the worst afflicted place on Earth. Substance abuse has run rampant for decades now, with some states showing more worrying trends than others. South Carolina is one such state. With more than 5.08 million residents, it is to no one's surprise that the state has experienced elevated rates of drug and alcohol abuse over the past several decades. There are numerous measures in place to combat the drug blight but as it stands, the drug issue very much remains a big problem.

Addiction in South Carolina

South Carolina has some stunning natural diversity as well as a rich cultural history which brings joy to the lives of millions of residents and visitors alike. But way too many individuals, family units and communities are unable to properly enjoy these state qualities owing to the vise-like grip of drug addiction.

Over 500,000 South Carolina inhabitants used marijuana in the year 2015, including 45,000 residents who experimented with it for the first time in their lives. In 2015, 240,000 state residents or 5.9% of the state's residents had a professionally diagnosed alcohol use disorder.

In the year 2015, 18% of all high school students in South Carolina reported that they had taken their first drink of alcohol before they were aged 13. This was slightly above the national average of 17%. In 2016, South Carolina experienced 550 deaths from a prescription opioid drug overdose.

Fatal overdoses from opioids, most prevalently heroin, in South Carolina increased by 14% between the years of 2015 and 2016. Drug overdoses increased by 67% from 2014 to 2015.

Among those patients in treatment in the state in 2015, 34.9% were getting aid for a diagnosed drug problem, 20.1% of them for an alcohol issue, and 45% for poly drug use involving alcohol and another drug. The number of people enrolled in substance abuse programs in South Carolina, according to a single-day count, increased from 14,217 in 2011 to 18,236 in 2015.

Commonly Abused Substances in South Carolina

There are numerous substances which are used and abused in the state of South Carolina. However, some of these are more prevalently abused than others. The information which follows highlights the most common drugs in the state:

1. Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs continue to be a national problem, and they are very much a problem in this particular state. In the year 2010, there were a total of 1,982 people that were admitted for opiates treatment other than heroin.

In the year 2016, 684 out of the 876 drug-related overdose fatalities in South Carolina were related to prescription drugs. Any type of prescription drug may be abused. However, it is true that certain classes of prescription drugs are abused way more heavily than others. Here are examples:

  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium)
  • Prescription opioids (Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Prescription stimulants (Adderal, Ritalin)

2. Opioids

Though the state has not experienced the sweeping opioid epidemic as heavily as some other states like Vermont, the epidemic is still felt keenly here. It has destroyed countless lives and families.

Opioid drugs responsible for the crisis include, but are not limited to heroin, prescription opioid painkillers and such synthetic opioids as Fentanyl. Potent and deadly Fentanyl analogues have steadily been making their way into South Carolina, with the examples of:

  • Carfentanil-laced marijuana: Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine
  • Gray death: This is a drug that can contain carfentanil, heroin, fentanyl, and U-47700 (Pink)

In the year 2016 in South Carolina:

  • 11,721 people were diagnosed with an opioid use disorder by a state-funded or public treatment provider.
  • For every 10,000 residents, 14 people were hospitalized for opioid overdoses.
  • 70 percent of drug-related overdoses were linked to an opioid drug.
  • There were 100 deaths related to heroin.
  • For every 10,000 residents, emergency medical services administered naloxone to 14 people.
  • Out of every 1,000 newborns, four were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

3. Alcohol

There were over 11,570 residents admitted into treatment for alcohol in the year 2010 as the primary abused substance and an additional 5,030 residents admitted for alcohol in combination with a secondary drug.

Binge drinking is a very risky practice that is often associated with alcohol abuse. The CDC defines binge drinking as the consumption of 4 or more drinks in a solitary sitting for women, or 5 or more drinks at once for men, at any time within the previous 30 days. Some important facts about binge drinking, relevant to the state are:

  • A survey revealed 18.1% of South Carolina residents polled admitted to binge drinking.
  • The average binge drinker in the state exceeds the binge drinking threshold, consuming 7 to 8 drinks in a session.
  • Binge drinking typically leads to poor choices: 29,300 residents were involved in DUI-related car crashes, some of which led to lost lives.

4. Methamphetamine

Although there has been a steady decrease in methamphetamine abuse in the state, there were over 560 residents that were admitted into drug treatment in the year 2010.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), meth use temporarily boosts the amounts of dopamine in the brain, a pleasure-causing naturally-produced chemical. The high that is caused by this drug is usually very short-lived, and users of the drug quickly build a tolerance to it. This causes them to seek the drug out more frequently and in increasing amounts.

Substance abuse statistics reveal the growing prevalence of methamphetamine labs where the dealers manufacture the drug. Note that is many other states, meth labs are actually decreasing, in part due to stiff competition from Mexican producers.

CNN reports that counties in South Carolina have been home to as many as 82 meth labs. These labs, usually located in residential homes, pose extremely severe threats to the inhabitants as well as the neighboring houses.

The CDC advises that chemicals used in making meth can (and often do) explode, injuring people nearby and causing significant property damage. The chemicals also cause irritation to the eyes and the respiratory system, and even seep into walls and other building parts, causing long-term exposure risks which usually compel demolitions of entire structures.

5. Cocaine

1,377 residents were admitted to substance abuse rehab for smoking cocaine while an additional 580 residents were admitted for ingesting cocaine through other means such as snorting.

6. Marijuana

In the year 2010, the data showed that marijuana was the most commonly cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions in the state of South Carolina. There were over 6,085 people admitted into drug rehab programs for marijuana addiction.

Of this number, 68.2% of them were male while 31.8% were female. Individuals 12-17 years of age were the largest demographic admitted to treatment for marijuana abuse in South Carolina.

Drug Related Injuries and Fatalities in South Carolina

As a direct consequence of drug use, 584 residents died in the state South Carolina in the year 2007. This is compared to the number of persons in South Carolina who died from motor vehicle accidents (1,062) and firearms (592) in the same year.

The number of meth lab seizure incidents in South Carolina increased 231% from 26 incidents in 2007 to 86 incidents in 2009, according to data from the El Paso Intelligence Center's National Seizure System (EPIC-NSS). The rate of drug-induced deaths in South Carolina exceeds the national average.

Addiction Prevention in South Carolina

South Carolina offers several ventures and initiatives that are designed to curb the growing rates of substance abuse among the locals. Some examples of these drug-suppressing initiatives include:

a) Limits on Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

In late 2017, Governor Henry McMaster announced an executive order aimed at preventing opioid abuse. The order limits opioid prescriptions for Medicaid recipients to a maximum of five days for acute and post-operative pain.

b) Overdose Prevention Project

This project educates and equips first responders and at-risk populations—people who are using drugs or concerned family members—with naloxone, a medication that saves lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. This program provides this service even to people who cannot afford to pay for the medication.

Addiction Treatment in South Carolina

In addition to the preventative programs which are in place, the state has a wide variety of addiction treatment and rehab programs available. In the year 2010, there were 27,802 people that entered drug and alcohol rehab in South Carolina. 68.3% were male and 31.7% were female. A few years back, in the year 2006, there were 104 drug and alcohol facilities in South Carolina.

In the most recently carried out drug use and abuse survey, 7% of South Carolina residents reported using illicit drugs in the past month, with the national average was 8.02%. Additionally, 3.09% of South Carolina residents reported using an illicit drug that wasn't marijuana in the past four weeks (the national average stood at 3.58%).

In 2010, the data indicated that marijuana was the most commonly cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions in South Carolina. It surpassed primary treatment admissions for stimulants (including meth) as well as other opiates (including many prescription drugs).

Consider the following categories of substance abuse treatment and rehab services that are available in South Carolina:

i) Medical Detox Programs

A medical detox program usually provides round the clock medical support as the person's body gets to work on properly healing. This treatment aids to protect the person from relapsing back into drug use and abuse, and it prepares them for the very next stage of treatment.

When individuals are battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, they may benefit from receiving detoxification services at the beginning of their treatment experience. Detoxification, or detox, refers to the physiological process of removing toxic substances from the body.

ii) Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Inpatient treatment provides people in need of stabilization and crisis resolution with a safe environment in which to jumpstart their recovery process. The different environment also makes it far easier to stay off drugs as the usual drug use triggers are, by and large, eliminated.

When individuals receive treatment in an inpatient setting, they are, first and foremost, entering a safe environment where they are monitored around-the-clock by trained professionals. In this setting, the obstacles, complications, and stressors of everyday life are removed so that individuals are able to place all of their energy and focus on recovering and becoming well again.

The first step to receiving inpatient treatment is to complete a thorough psychosocial assessment. This process involves gathering pertinent data about the individual, which will then be used to determine the most appropriate level of care to meet his or her needs. If it is determined that inpatient treatment will be of the most benefit to the individual, the process of admissions will begin. After this, the treatment becomes a lot more straightforward.

iii) Outpatient Addiction Treatment

While the traditional outpatient and intensive outpatient programs effectively provide standalone services for dependency treatment, these programs tend to be more valuable when they are used to support inpatient rehab.

In this capacity, outpatient programs may help a person to adjust to sobriety after receiving treatment. As a step-down service, the outpatient programs assist the person to successfully adjust to changes in lifestyle which are associated with sobriety

iv) Continuing Care

From the time that patients enter into inpatient care, their treatment teams will be working hard to create a concise aftercare plan. Upon the completion of inpatient treatment, patients meet with case workers and other staff members to review their options for continuing care.

Following inpatient treatment, many patients benefit from stepping down into partial hospitalization programming, intensive outpatient programming, or traditional outpatient services like weekly therapy sessions, monthly medication management, and similar services.

Some of the therapy options that are offered through addiction treatment in South Carolina include:

  • 12-step and non-12 support groups
  • Addiction education
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Complementary therapies, including equine therapy, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, massage therapy, and journaling
  • Coping techniques
  • Couples counseling
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Exercise therapy
  • External support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy meetings
  • Individual counseling
  • Life skills training
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Stress management
  • Vocational training

Getting Help

Once you realize that you have a substance abuse, dependency, and addiction problem, the best thing you can do is to check into an addiction treatment and rehabilititon center in South Carolina for help.


For more information about treatment centers in South Carolina, Click Here.

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