Tag Archives: overdose

From Other Blogs: Opioid overdose epidemic, viral hepatitis, improving urban health through green space & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Rural America in Crisis: The Changing Opioid Overdose Epidemic

In America, 15 out of 100 people live in a rural area.  I loved growing up in a rural community, where there were actually no stop lights, everyone knew their neighbors, and doors were always open. But, my years of working in public health has taught me rural areas are not that different from urban areas when it comes to the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic.

The rate of drug overdose deaths in rural areas has surpassed rates in urban areas, and it is a huge public health concern. Understanding how rural areas are different when it comes to drug use and drug overdose deaths, including opioids, can help public health professionals identify, monitor, and prioritize their response to this epidemic. — From the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

ABCs of Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis is the term that describes inflammation of the liver that is caused by a virus. There are actually five types of hepatitis viruses; each one is named after a letter in the alphabet: A, B, C, D and E.

The most common types of viral hepatitis are A, B and C. These three viruses affect millions of people worldwide, causing both short-term illness and long-term liver disease. The World Health Organization estimates 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. In 2015, 1.34 million died from viral hepatitis, a number that is almost equal to the number of deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined. — From the CDC’s “Public Health Matters” blog

Improving Urban Health through Green Space

While city living has its share of conveniences, stressors like traffic congestion, pollution, and weakened social ties threaten the health and well-being of many urban dwellers. Such factors can lead to a range of mental and physical health concerns. For example, stress is linked to negative impacts on immune functioning. — From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog

Go Green for the Holidays!

Are you one of those organized people who are already prepared for the coming winter holidays? Or do you still have plans to make and gifts to buy? Either way, why not take a second look at some of your usual holiday activities to see if you can make them more “sustainable?”

Sustainability is the responsible use of environmental resources in the present so that future generations will have enough to meet their needs. This is a lofty goal; how can any one person make a difference in reaching it? You may not realize that you are already working toward sustainability if you reuse and recycle; compost; walk, bike, take transit, or drive low-emission vehicles; conserve water and electricity; join community clean-up efforts; or otherwise save resources. — From the CDC’s “Your Health – Your Environment” blog

DHEC in the News: Opioids, abandoned tires, flood-prone homes

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

Fighting Opioid overdoses on the front lines

Nearly 100 people a day are dying from opioid overdoses, it’s part of a growing issue that South Carolina is not immune to.

In the past 3 years, opioid related deaths have risen 18%. That crisis is causing police officers to equip departments with a overdose reversal drug known as Narcan.

South Carolina Health Officials Propose Fines Over Old Tires

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Health officials in South Carolina are proposing fines for a recycling company because of abandoned tires that serve as a mosquito breeding ground.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control has proposed more than $1 million in civil penalties against the 21-acre (8.5-hectare) Viva Recycling operation in Berkeley County, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

Health officials say the company has more than 200,000 abandoned tires in Berkeley County. DHEC says the company has not paid the $1.65 million in fines yet.

General Interest

‘A huge shift in our mindset’ – Charleston looks at how best to treat flood-prone homes

In a move that one Charleston preservation leader called “a sea change,” the city will be more receptive than ever to property owners’ requests to elevate their homes or other buildings, even along its most historic streets.

The city held a day-long workshop Friday to discuss design solutions that would allow historic buildings to be elevated while minimizing disruption to the city’s ambiance, one that has given the city a national reputation and fueled its multimillion-dollar tourist economy.

The workshop came several weeks after Tropical Storm Irma flooded dozens of historic homes downtown, many for the third time in as many years.

DHEC Encourages Disposal of Unused Prescription Drugs through Take-Back Programs

Saturday, October 28, marks the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can drop off unused prescription drugs at participating collection sites between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Held twice a year, this national observance aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medication.

In South Carolina, 102 prescriptions for painkillers are now written for every 100 residentsIn 2015, there were 570 accidental prescription drug overdose deaths in the state.

To help address this problem, DHEC is working with health care providers and pharmacists across the state to identify and stop prescription drug abuse. DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control is charged with administering the South Carolina prescription monitoring program.  The centralized database, known as the South Carolina Reporting and Identification Prescription Tracking System (SCRIPTS), allows authorized users access to controlled substance dispensing data, helping to make it easier for South Carolina doctors and pharmacists to identify and report potential prescription drug abuse.

The intent of the database is to improve the state’s ability to identify and stop the diversion of prescription drugs in an efficient and cost-effective manner while not hindering the appropriate medical use of controlled substances where there is a valid prescriber-patient or pharmacist-patient relationship.

Make use of take-back programs

DHEC encourages the disposal of unused household medications through take-back programs, as well as drop-off collection boxes, as a way to effectively serve and protect the citizens of South Carolina.

The take-back programs help reduce childhood overdoses, restrict household drug theft, Medicines (2)limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly, protect our physical environment, reduce pharmaceutical contamination of fresh water, and eliminate waste.

Also, research indicates that patients often do not take prescribed medications as directed, if at all. Thus, many unused medications are diverted, abused, and misused and could potentially lead to a major cause of accidental poisonings and arrests. The South Carolina law enforcement community has seen arrest rates for prescription drug-related offenses rise in the past several years.

Helping to protect our environment

In addition, after being flushed or poured down a drain, many medicines pass through sewer and septic systems. Because these systems cannot always treat or remove the medicines, they may end up in streams, lakes and groundwater. This can cause adverse effects in fish and other aquatic wildlife as well as unintentional human exposure to chemicals in the medications.

Keeping prescription and over-the-counter medicines out of the environment is an important way to prevent pollution. Drug disposal programs and events like drug take-back days provide a safe alternative to disposing unwanted or old medications.

Find out where to go 

To locate a collection site nearest you, click here.

DHEC Encourages Disposal of Unused Prescription Drugs through Take-Back Programs

Saturday, October 22, marks the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Held twice a year, this national observance aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medication.

In South Carolina, 102 prescriptions for painkillers are now written for every 100 residentsIn 2015, there were 570 accidental prescription drug overdose deaths in the state.

To help address this problem, DHEC is working with health care providers and pharmacists across the state to identify and stop prescription drug abuse. DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control is charged with administering the South Carolina prescription monitoring program.  The centralized database, known as the South Carolina Reporting and Identification Prescription Tracking System (SCRIPTS), allows authorized users access to controlled substance dispensing data, helping to make it easier for South Carolina doctors and pharmacists to identify and report potential prescription drug abuse.

The intent of the database is to improve the state’s ability to identify and stop the diversion of prescription drugs in an efficient and cost-effective manner while not hindering the appropriate medical use of illicit controlled substances where there is a valid prescriber-patient or pharmacist-patient relationship.

Make use of take-back programs

DHEC encourages the disposal of unused household medications through take-back programs, as well as drop-off collection boxes, as a way to effectively serve and protect the citizens of South Carolina.

The take-back programs help reduce childhood overdoses, restrict household drug theft, limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly, protect our physical environment, reduce pharmaceutical contamination of fresh water, and eliminate waste.

Also, research indicates that patients often do not take prescribed medications as directed, if at all. Thus, many unused medications are diverted, abused, and misused and could potentially lead to a major cause of accidental poisonings and arrests. The South Carolina law enforcement community has seen arrest rates for prescription drug-related offenses rise in the past several years.

Helping to protect our environment

In addition, after being flushed or poured down a drain, many medicines pass through sewer and septic systems. Because these systems cannot always treat or remove the medicines, they may end up in streams, lakes and groundwater. This can cause adverse effects in fish and other aquatic wildlife as well as unintentional human exposure to chemicals in the medications.

Keeping prescription and over-the-counter medicines out of the environment is an important way to prevent pollution. Drug disposal programs and events like drug take-back days provide a safe alternative to disposing unwanted or old medications.

Find out where to go 

To locate a collection site nearest you, click here.