New medical services being discussed for inmates battling opioid addiction

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 9:26 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Opioid addiction is an issue that counties, cities, and towns have been battling, and certain individuals have limited resources to help fight the addiction.

Executive Director of Shoreline Behavioral Health Services, John Coffin, said he’s seen opioids take over the community firsthand.

He said, some people, specifically inmates, do not always have the opportunity to seek this kind of help.

“One tricky part about jail is that it’s kind of caught between large systems,” said Coffin. “So oftentimes, Samsa and corrections at the federal level will argue who’s supposed to pay for what. So, a lot of times when people land in the jail, they lose entitlements. Let’s say you have Medicaid, you lose it. Any coverage you had goes and the jail which has limited funds is sort of in charge of meeting all your health care needs.”

Coffin said that these challenges stunt the jails’ abilities to grow their medical services for inmates.

As discussed at Tuesday’s public safety meeting, Horry County leaders, the sheriff’s office and Coffin and his team are working to bring services to those inmates.

Coffin said funds totaling around 100 million dollars that are coming from the State of South Carolina into Horry County could be the kickoff to bringing new medical services into jails.

He said this has been a discussion that has gone on for around three or four years.

“It really is something I think slowly we’re all coming around to see that interventions like that are effective and they work,” said Coffin.

Check back with WMBF News for updates on this story.