Advance with MUSC Health

National Opioid Awareness Day: MUSC Health Florence Substance Abuse Counselor talks about the opioid epidemic and offers resources

Advance With MUSC Health
September 09, 2022
Group of adults in chairs talking.

National Opioid Awareness Day — also known as Purple Ribbon Day — is September 21st. Its purpose? To raise awareness of opioid overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends of opioid users.

The Opioid Epidemic

Prescription opioid drug abuse and the increase of individuals struggling with other narcotics have marked a major epidemic in the United States. Those who have overdosed or died as a result of opioid use have affected family members, neighbors, co-workers, and the children of our community.

Synthetic opioids have been noted as the main contributor to the 72.9% of opioid overdose deaths reported by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 2013, more than 7,000 patients have been treated in the emergency departments daily for misusing and abusing opioids in a manner other than prescribed to them, when taken with other medications, or by taking prescribed medications of others.

In 2020, overdose deaths rose to more than 93,000, which was the highest ever reported. This marks over 1.1 million deaths in the U.S. from 1968 to 2020, according to the provisional data released by the CDC.

Narcotics (opioids) are drugs that have extremely addictive potential. Stopping these substances abruptly can be very difficult — more often than not, medication detoxification is required.

In addition, follow-through is extremely important. Educating victims of overdose, family members, and our communities about the causes, dangers, and treatments of opioid abuse and fatal substance use is vital. Local task forces in our area including health care providers, local governments, and community groups, have developed partnerships operating with strategies to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths.

Help is Here: Opioid Detox Programs in the Community

Detox programs such as MUSC Health Florence Medical Center’s dedicated alcohol and drug treatment facility, Bruce Hall, provide inpatient medical detoxification to stabilize those struggling with opioid, alcohol, benzodiazepine, and sedative substance use disorders. Medical staffing services by physicians and nurses are provided 24 hours and seven days a week. In addition, substance abuse education, counseling, support, and case-management services are offered.

Referrals are made to health care providers for follow-up regarding medical services to ensure ready access to Naloxone as a preventive method to address opioid overdose-related deaths when it is administered in a timely manner.

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) contracts with county alcohol and drug abuse authorities, and public and private providers by offering Behavioral Health treatment, prevention, and recovery services. These services also include the opioid treatment programs Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and the distribution of Narcan (an overdose antidote). Go to South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (

Psychology Today offers a listing of psychologists, counselors, and therapists not only in South Carolina but throughout the nation providing services by licensed and certified providers.

Ryedenna Simon-McQueen, LAC is a substance abuse counselor at MUSC Health Florence Medical Center.