Gov. declares opioid epidemic in SC a 'silent hurricane,' launches response team

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A public health emergency declared for South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster made the announcement on Monday, saying increased deaths from opioid and specifically heroin caused him to act.

The Governor says that from 2014 to 2016, deaths from heroin increased by 67 percent in South Carolina.

McMaster says the number of overdoses and deaths are up, so much that he's formed an emergency team to tackle it,  and orders state medical services to limit opioid prescriptions for some.

The governor wants a five-day limit on opioid prescriptions for acute and post-operative pain. He gives reasons for this being that prescriptions become addictive.

But some feel this could cause unintended consequences— one opioid user said it's infuriating that lawmakers are trying to act as doctors and worries people who live in rural areas may not be able to have prescriptions renewed as often as every five days.

But one state representative and parent who lost his son feels it's a step in the right direction to saving lives and stopping addiction before it happens.

"I don't view this personally as a big problem in saying we only want you to be able to prescribe five days in these acute scenarios," said Rep. Eric Bedingfield. "That should have already been the case."

That opioid emergency team will meet twice a month, starting on Tuesday afternoon to talk about what else can be done.

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