MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For the first time, the City of Myrtle Beach heard results from a 120-day opioid study on Horry and Georgetown Counties.
Horry-Georgetown Technical professor Renee Causey presented her findings to Myrtle Beach City Council Thursday, saying some of the biggest problems are limited funding and lack of coordination between organizations looking to fight the epidemic.
The opioid study was conducted from April to August.
Funding for the $60,000 study came from local cities, counties and healthcare providers. The City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County each contributed $12,500. The City of Georgetown and Georgetown County contributed $5,000 each. Healthcare providers HCA, McLeod Health, Tidelands Health and Conway Medical Center each contributed $6,250.
Causey explained coordination between local organizations is key. She said there are several families, churches, government organizations and non-profits working to help the opioid and heroin epidemic, but there’s a lack of communication between the groups.
Her hope is that an individual, entity or office can be put in place and can coordinate with organizations in an effort to help direct addicts toward a specific organization that could help.
“Many times they don’t have times to talk to each other, they might not know to talk to each other so having coordination or an individual or entity or office in place that can coordinate these efforts would be extremely important and helpful,” Causey said.
Causey also said one of the other hurdles for Horry and Georgetown County is lack of funding. She said Horry County receives $600,000 from the state to fight the opioid epidemic, but that money only goes to one specific organization, Shoreline Behavioral Health. Georgetown County does not currently get any funding from the state.
“That’s a huge challenge. There is funding coming into the state but we have very little financial resources coming into these counties. And the biggest challenge our addicts are facing is their fear of coming forward and not knowing where to go or having the proper services in place,” Causey said.
She said in the time it took her to conduct this study, 42 people died from overdose just in Horry County alone.