BEAUFORT, Sc. (WSAV) – Beaufort County is just one of many across the US rattled by the opioid epidemic. As part of national opioid awareness, county officials got the community together Thursday to educate and remember.
“I actually had a plane tickets to go to rehab… I decided to take one last shot of my drug of choice and I woke up surrounded by paramedics, my mom had to do CPR on me, and that was her third time doing CPR on me,” said Austin Henderson.
He’s now 15 months sober, but others weren’t so lucky.
“I lost my son, Jonathan Abla, on August 3rd,” said Jill Abla, “Since that time, I’ve been very involved with rehab facilities, with recovery facilities, and I came to know of Austin just a few months ago… I couldn’t be more proud of him if he was my own son.”
Abla’s son is just one of the 20 that have died from drug overdoses in Beaufort County in 2017, that number nearly three times more than the total in 2016, according to the Beaufort County Coroner.
“It’s paramount to staying clean… it’s having a big support group,” said Henderson.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. As part of national opioid awareness, Beaufort officials want to make that support group county wide.
“The more knowledge people have that this is out in the community, everyone can be a spokesperson,” said Joy Nelson with the Bluffton Police Dept.
As many as one in four people prescribed opioids long-term are struggling with addiction, according to the CDC. Wendy’s daughter is one of them.
“I didn’t realize how much she had taken… She was unresponsive. I shook her, just wasn’t responsive and she was literally cold and grey,” Wendy said, “I don’t know how the medical community should be handling it better, but it’s not being done well.”
Earlier this month, President Trump declared the epidemic a national emergency.
“It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.” Trump said on August 11th.
But until then, the Beaufort community takes a moment to remember the lives lost to this epidemic and a vow to stand together to stop it.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact the Beaufort County Alcohol & Drug Abuse at (843) 255-6000.
They do have after hours treatment.