$50K grant helped cut Fairfield opioid deaths in half

FAIRFIELD COUNTY – A $50,000 State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from South Carolina’s Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services has resulted in a 50 percent decrease in overdose deaths, a 65 percent decrease in the number of opioid and stimulant arrests and a 7.6 percent decrease in drug seizures in Fairfield County during the grant period from January, 2021 through Sept. 17, 2021 in comparison to 2019 and 2020.

The grant award was made to the Fairfield Opioid Response Team in partnership with Fairfield Behavioral Health Services, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Winnsboro Public Safety Emergency Medical Services, Coroner’s Office and Fairfield County Emergency Management/911.

The grant allowed the team, starting at the beginning of 2021, to gain access to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program which gave members real time data of suspected opioid or stimulant overdoses or deaths in different jurisdictions.

Upon reviewing the tracked data, the team was able to determine locations in Fairfield County that had the greatest need for substance use prevention. Targeting these hotspots, the team hosted six Community Take Back Days, collecting prescription medications from 26 residents; distributing 1,000 Deterra drug deactivation bags; and discussing the importance of proper medication disposal.

Deterra bags were also distributed to Hawthorne pharmacy, 4 local physicians, and other organizations in the county.

The SOR grant allowed the team to purchase and install a new prescription drop box at Hawthorne Pharmacy. Boxes are already located at the Sheriff’s office and the Winnsboro Public Safety office. With the installation of this third drop box and the Community Take Back Days, our county collected 146 lbs. of unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications this year

The also grant enabled the team to raise awareness in the community through billboards, news articles, ads, and a direct mailer in hotspot areas. It also provided funds to give Botvin Life Skills Training, an evidence based prevention program with an opioid lesson, to 72 high school students.

The Fairfield Opioid Response Team, in partnership with Fairfield Behavioral Health Services, Fairfield County Sheriff Department, Winnsboro Public Safety, Emergency Medical Services, Coroner’s Office, and Fairfield County Emergency Management/911, has now been awarded a second $50,000 SOR grant to continue their efforts to reduce the impact of opioid and stimulant use and abuse in Fairfield County.

What Can You Do?

  • Learn more about the dangers and impact of opioid use at https://justplainkillers.com and  https://naxolonesavessc.org 
  • Request prescription drug deactivation bags (Deterra Bags) for your family, community, church or business etc.
  • Collect all unused prescription drug pain killers and place them in the prescription drug drop boxes located at Fairfield County Sheriff, Winnsboro Public Safety, and Hawthorne Pharmacy (1 new site to be announced soon)
  • Participate in Opioid Education and Narcan Distribution training through Fairfield Behavioral Health Services and receive free Narcan to prevent an overdose
  • Administer Narcan for someone you believe in good faith is experiencing an opioid overdose without being subject to civil or criminal liability
  • Participate in the Strengthening Families Program through Fairfield Behavioral Health Services
  • Start treatment and recovery for opioid and stimulant use at Fairfield Behavioral Health Services

For more information contact Fairfield Behavioral Health Services: (803) 635-2335; www.fairfieldbhs.org

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