Prisma Health is bringing together a number of agencies to take a look at available resources and see what else is needed to stop opioid-related deaths in Oconee County.
In 2017, 748 people in South Carolina died of opioid-related deaths, including 24 people in Oconee County, according to Dr. Alain Litwin.
“Our mission will not end until we have zero opioid-related overdoses in Oconee County, as well as South Carolina,” Dr. Litwin said.
Robert Iddings-Rocha knows about the problem firsthand.
He says he was once addicted to Opioids and Heroin.
He struggled with homelessness, scrounging for food and dealing drugs.
Dr. Litwin says Oconee County is one of the hardest hit areas of South Carolina due to lack of resources in rural areas.
“The drug markets are a big fact in where Fentanyl hits often could have a big impact because we know again five of those 24 deaths were related to Fentanyl, and we feel that Fentanyl is only growing,” Dr. Litwin said.
Dr. Litwin works with the Oconee County Opioid Response Taskforce. The group will host its first community event on Tuesday, June 4
He says they will focus on everything from prevention to treatment and recovery.
Iddings-Rocha says the outreach to those suffering is a great place to start.
“The more awareness we can bring to the issue…more people can see that it’s not just them that is going through this…they’re not by themselves,” he said.
Tuesday’s event starts at 6 p.m. at Northside Elementary School in Seneca.
There will be a panel discussion followed by a community resource fair.