Opioid epidemic leads to need for Shoreline Behavioral Health Services to expand

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - An addiction treatment center in Horry County is expanding its services.

Shoreline Behavioral Health Services leaders are looking at constructing a new building next door to their existing one on Wise Road just off Highway 701 near Conway.

John Coffin, executive director of Shoreline, said the opioid epidemic has led to an increase in the need for Shoreline’s services, meaning they have had to make sacrifices in their current building.

One of the break rooms in Shoreline’s building is now stacked with cubicles to allow for more staff to fit. Coffin said they’ve expanded their staff from 35 to around 80. A room formerly used for storage also now fits cubicles to accommodate.

Staff is not the only thing that’s increased over the years, though.

The number of clients has also skyrocketed.

“We saw about 600 people in 2007, and now we see 2,200 to 2,500 clients in the course of a year,” Coffin said.

Coffin said the driving force behind the major uptick in clients has without a doubt been the opioid epidemic.

The most recent statistics available from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control show 816 people died of opioid overdoses in 2018. 84 of those deaths were in Horry County, which means it was the county with the highest opioid overdose death rate at 29.1.

The alarming statistics have led to more business for Shoreline, meaning they’re wanting to expand.

Shoreline bought a plot of land right next door to their existing building on Wise Road so they can build a new one.

Coffin said it will help make sure staff at Shoreline are less crowded, and they’ll be able to provide the best care possible.

Coffin doesn’t have many specifics since it’s still in the early stages. He’s not even sure if the project will just be one building. It could be more.

As a result, the specifics on the cost and timeline aren’t entirely clear either, but Coffin guesses it will cost around $8 million, with shovels hitting the ground in the summer of 2021.

Some of that $8 million will from the state, some of it is Shoreline’s own and some of it is future money they’ll expect to receive and earn.

Coffin said he hopes the expansion will help people get the help they need.

“We see tremendous results when we can get people into treatment,” he said.

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