DHEC in the News: Litter, Columbia’s river greenways, opioids

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

TRASH TALK: Littering comes at a cost

It takes just a second, with the quick flick of a wrist, to toss a cigarette butt out a car window, but that brief action can have a negative, far-reaching impact that lasts for decades. While a person may unthinkingly toss litter, the overall, expanded and compounded cost of such behavior is staggering. Today’s article will describe some of the financial as well as related costs caused by littering.

Quite obviously, there is a cost for cleaning up litter from roadways, parks and bodies of water. The Keep America Beautiful website notes that it costs the United States an estimated $11.5 billion per year for cleanup. This does not include the indirect costs such as reduced real estate values, impact on tourism, attracting new businesses, or its effect on animals, water and soil.

Two years after the flood, Columbia’s river greenways still recovering

COLUMBIA — Two years after torrents of rain surging in from the coast brought major flooding to Columbia, its popular river walkways finally are getting back to normal.

The major exception is the path along the breached wall of the Columbia Canal.

The existing sections of the Three Rivers Greenway were built in the river floodplain with the risk of flooding in mind, said Mike Dawson, CEO of the River Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for improved public access to the rivers.

General Interest

CVS implements steps to combat opioid epidemic, but S.C. experts say the efforts may be misguided

CVS recently announced several efforts to take on the nation’s opioid epidemic, positioning the pharmacy giant as an industry leader, even as experts suggest that the company’s moves may be misguided

On Sept. 21, CVS announced a new rule limiting the amount of medication some patients can receive. Beginning Feb. 1, CVS will dispense no more than seven days’ worth of opioid painkillers to patients “who are new to therapy.” The policy will also limit daily dosages based on the strength of the drug and require use of less addictive forms of the drug before their more addictive cousins are dispensed.

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