Just Plain Killers

Just Plain Killers: Fairfield’s Opioid Epidemic Response

Story by: Vernon Kennedy Fairfield Behavioral Health Services

1 in 4 people who are prescribed opioids struggle with addiction

On Saturday, November 16th, 2019, Fairfield Behavioral Health Services in partnership with Fairfield County School District, Fairfield County Sheriff Department, Fairfield County EMS, and Winnsboro Public Safety hosted the “Just Plain Killers” Symposium to provide Fairfield County’s response to the opioid epidemic. The Symposium was held at Fairfield Central High School from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The Symposium and all-related efforts are funded by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), made possible by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through a cooperative agreement with the South Carolina Governor’s Office State Opioid Response (SOR) [under award #1H79TI081720-01] with the primary goal to reduce the impact of prescription drug use/misuse on overdoses and deaths.

4 out of 5 heroin users started with Rx pain pills

During the Symposium, a host of presenters shared information to the general population on opioids, the effects on the body, current statistics, the impact of uses and safe disposal, as well as local law enforcement, prevention and treatment efforts to address the opioid epidemic. Director Sarah Goldsby of DAODAS delivered the keynote address, covering how the opioid crisis has affected the entire state of South Carolina and the numerous efforts across the state that are combating this issue. Fairfield Behavioral Health Services’ staff conducted a tag team presentation with Prevention Specialist, Mr. Jeremy Purnell, educating the audience on what opioids are, how they affect you and your community, and risk factors for opioid abuse.

Mr. Douglas Johnson, Narcan Distribution Trainer, emphasized the importance of Narcan, instructions for administering Narcan, and the laws to protect persons who administer Narcan to someone experiencing an overdose. Dr J.R. Green, Chief John Seibles, Major Brad Douglas, Anna Rhodes, and myself provided presentations from our respective organizations, highlighting efforts and personal stories. Audience members were very engaged in the Symposium, evoking several discussions for further understanding of the issue and efforts in Fairfield County. Fifteen attendees were provided a free Narcan Kit at the end of the Symposium as a result of their participation and willingness to save a life of someone who may be at risk for an opioid overdose.

Opioid dependency can develop in just 3 days

There are still opportunities, as we are offering $250 to businesses, churches, and concerned citizens to train adults on the opioid crisis and how to administer Narcan. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the Opioid Education & Narcan Distribution Training please contact Douglas Johnson at 803.635.2335, extension 23.

1 in 4 teens has misused or abused opioids

Winnsboro Public Safety and Fairfield County Sheriff Department were co-winners of the Marion C. Smith Partner of the Year Award due to their outstanding contributions to Fairfield Behavioral Health Services and the field of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse and behavioral health.