‘There is hope:’ Myrtle Beach mother loses two children to overdose shares her story of loss

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) -The city of Myrtle Beach partnered with the Grand Strand Advocacy Project for a free event at Chapin Park for Overdose Awareness Day.

Maryann Kordoski bravely took to the stage and shared a poem she wrote for her son and daughter who died in heroin overdoses just a year and a half apart.

“Mister Addiction, you thought you had the final say. Well this mama is telling you no way,” said Kordoski.

Her son Eric died in 2015 and her daughter Lori died in 2017, both in their 40s.

“Eric was in recovery, in and out of recovery all of his life. Heroin was not his drug of choice, but he did it the night he died,” said Kordoski.

Lori was in the nursing field when she died.

“Everyone loved her. The spirit has nothing to do with the addiction,” said Kordoski.

The two-hour event served a number of purposes Monday night.

“It’s not only for memorializing our community members who’ve lost to an overdose, but it’s recognizing that ripple effect in our community,” said Michelle Smith, Myrtle Beach Opioid Program Coordinator.

Drug overdose deaths continue to increase year after year according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The department held a free Narcan training course in Myrtle Beach, for anyone who wanted to attend.

Danika Bass, State Opioid Initiatives Facilitator, led the course and walked those in attendance through everything from identifying an overdose, to how to properly use Narcan. She also dropped a startling statistic on the estimated deaths due to overdoses for 2022.

“2,200 are our preliminary numbers for the state of South Carolina for 2022,” said Bass.

The official numbers have not been released yet.

The last recorded number of people who died of a drug overdose in 2021 was 2,168, an increase of 25% from the year before.

As the cases increase, residents like Barbara Welch said classes like these were not available to the general public years ago.

“Narcan was not available then, and we’re talking about 20 years ago. It’s wonderful that everyone has access to this,” said Welch.

Through a broken heart, Ms. Kordoski has a message for anyone who is dealing with addiction.

“Anybody who’s struggling, there is help, and there is hope,” said Kordoski.

DHEC is providing free Opioid Overdose Kits at DHEC Health Clinics.

To find a clinic in your neighborhood click here.