DAODAS grant providing more opioid abuse treatment in rural areas

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -A new state grant is helping more people overcome opioid addiction across the Palmetto State. The extra funds are supplying more doctors in rural areas, where appointments are not as easy to come by.

The more than $3 million grant is being provided through the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) and offers additional on-site physicians to health facilities across the state.

Behavioral Health Services in Clarendon County is a substance abuse treatment center, which is now able to offer more opioid treatment services because of this new grant.

Ann Kirven is the Clarendon Behavioral Health Services CEO. She says, “It’s important, especially in these rural counties, because many people don’t have the funds to get the treatment without it, much less pay for the medication. So, this way, you keep people from stealing. Hopefully, we keep people from dying.”

Kirven says too many people are dying from the opioid epidemic. Those are the patients being targeted through the Behavioral Health Services’ Medication Assisted Treatment Program. Potential patients will be given a financial assessment, and a drug screen. If accepted, they will be given regular drug screens to ensure prescriptions they are given to treat the opioid disorder are being used appropriately.

The DAODAS grant allows Clarendon Behavioral Health to offer these services free of charge to those who qualify.

“It’s very hard for rural counties to get a lot of physicians. These people can now be seen and they can be treated because many people say, ‘I can’t go for treatment because I can’t afford it,’ but now, we’ve taken that out of it. So, you can afford it, thanks to DAODAS and this grant,” Kirven said.

The 18-month DAODAS grant will provide a mobile unit staffed with a nurse practitioner at Clarendon Behavioral Health Services every Friday. It’s been up-and-running already since July. This will offer affordable, medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse. It will mean basic medical services at affordable rates for those with or without insurance.

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