Students offer hope for opioid addiction

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Two Coastal Carolina University students have joined in the fight against opioids.

For over a year, seniors Sydney Brown and Ashley Lynch have been researching the opioid epidemic in Horry County, surveying people on their perceptions and experiences with the drugs.

"There's a lot of room for education and awareness," said Brown.

It's an uphill battle fighting the opioid addiction, as the number of deaths continue to climb in Horry County.

According to information from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, in 2016 there were 617 opioid-related deaths in South Carolina. Of that number, 101 were registered in Horry County.

Brown and Lynch surveyed almost 700 people on opioid awareness.

"We had 684 people who took part in our survey; 340 people were Horry County residents. Of those 340, 98 percent perceive heroin to be very dangerous, while only 52 percent perceived pain medication to be dangerous," Brown said.

Brown said a third of those respondents say they wouldn't know where to go to get help, while 44 percent felt there weren't enough treatment options in Horry County.

Now Brown and Lynch are planning to hold their first Horry Hope event. It will take place at Oz at Broadway at the Beach on March 31, from 1 to 4 p.m. Alcohol will not be served.

Anyone with a family member or friend who lost their life to an opioid addiction and would like to honor them at the memorial, they can email a picture of them to

Brown said she's hoping the event will help at least one person on the road to sobriety.

"There are people here to support you. There are places to get help. People are willing to bend over backwards to make this happen for you. If you need help, reach out to someone," she said. "There are groups - NA, AA, HA - all kinds of meetings you can attend. There's someone here that is willing to help you and that will help you take a step in the right direction to a clean and sober life, and the first step could be the Horry Hope Initiative event."

To learn more about the Horry Hope Initiative click here.

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