COLUMBIA, S.C. – More than 700 people died in 2017 from opioids, prompting the governor and agencies like the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services to kick prevention strategies into overdrive.
Last year, DAODAS launched the “Just Plain Killers” campaign and Thursday the agency unveiled another component of that effort.
Governor Henry McMaster joined DAODAS and state lawmakers to announce the newest feature in the state’s opioid addiction prevention campaign.
The campaign rasies awareness about opioids and prescription pain killers.
In 2017, 748 South Carolinians died from opioid overdose.
“That’s more than from DUI accidents,” said McMaster explained.
Governor McMaster continued highlighting other startling facts about the drug.
“Sixty percent of the teenagers in our state who first try prescriptions drugs to get high are 15-years-old or younger,” McMaster said.
The “Just Plain Killers” campaign includes a website and commercial and now features a vending machine.
You put a nickle it into the machine and press the number of the fact you would like to read. The machine then dispenses what looks like a prescription with a pill bottle inside that contains facts about opioids and addiction in the state.
Many agencies say informing people of those facts is key in fighting the issue.
Sara Goldsby, the director of DAODAS, said almost 50% of SC residents were familiar with the campaign and at least one message delivered.
“With two times more fatalities from opioid overdoses than impaired alcohol driving deaths we all need to do our part to end the prescription opioid epidemic in our state,” Goldsby added.
Last year, more than 4 million opioids were prescribed.
In addition to the 748 deaths in 2017, Governor McMaster said between 2016-17 there was a 90% increase in fentanyl deaths. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid.