Your Guide to South Carolina Addiction Treatment

Your Guide to South Carolina Addiction Treatment

South Carolina is most famous for its small-town feel, quaint beaches and diverse wetlands. While it may seem picturesque, it is among the many battling the growing trend in alcohol and drug use. Local government is making efforts to keep up with current demand for South Carolina addiction treatment. With a population of just over five million, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) found that opioid-related overdose death in South Carolina increased from 247 to a staggering 628 deaths per 100,000 people in only three years’ time.1

As a result, statewide initiatives to prevent further substance use and treat those currently struggling have been enacted. Learn more about the addiction outlook as well as South Carolina addiction treatment to find the best option for your needs.

South Carolina and Substance Abuse

South Carolina and Substance Abuse

The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) found a 67 percent increase in attempts by EMS professionals to reverse overdoses caused by opioid drugs in recent years.2 The opioid epidemic has clearly extended to this state, and it shows in the number of people seeking help. DAODAS discovered a 135% increase in the number of residents seeking treatment for an opiate use disorder. This is good news for the state as it demonstrates that residents are making attempts to get the individualized care they need to recover.

Most Frequently Abused Substances in South Carolina

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that cocaine was the number one seized substance within the state of South Carolina.3 However, it is still unclear if it is the most commonly abused substance. Current trends show that the following substances rank highest in abuse in South Carolina:

  • Marijuana
  • Opioid drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Alcohol

How Substance Abuse Impacts Communities

Substance abuse can devastate communities. It is linked to increased rates of violent crime, accidental deaths and overwhelms the healthcare system. On a family level, addiction hurts relationships and creates a dysfunctional environment for all members. The solution is clear -treatment needs to be prioritized and preventative measures must be expanded.

South Carolina Addiction Prevention Programs

An increasing number of statewide programs have been developed to target South Carolina’s rising substance use problem. Goals include reducing rates of addiction, educating the public about the signs and symptoms associated with addiction and getting individuals with an active substance use disorder (SUD) into addiction treatment as soon as possible.

The South Carolina Overdose Prevention Project received over three million dollars in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It trains first responders, patients struggling with an active opioid addiction and caregivers of individuals with an opioid addiction to administer life-saving naloxone, a medication that can reverse opioid-induced overdose.

A critical part of this program includes educating its participants about the signs and symptoms of an overdose, so they can identify it quickly and take action. Naloxone is part of a statewide distribution system which aims to make access to the overdose antidote more attainable.

This program recognizes and addresses the increased risk among individuals with a SUD for tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other less common infectious diseases. It provides screening for individuals and referrals on a case-by-case basis for healthcare services, monitoring and case management.

Developed in response to the growing prescription drug epidemic, MAT Access promotes the use of medication assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals with an opioid addiction. This program focuses on spreading awareness about MAT and teaching healthcare professionals how to adopt it. It also offers educational tools to reduce the stigma surrounding MAT in the public.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control discovered a staggering five million prescriptions for opioids that were filled in 2016 alone. In an effort to reduce, monitor and track the prescription of known addictive medications, SCRIPTS was established. This program aims to implement the following:

  • Improve information technology
  • Extend prescription medication tracking and dispensing to healthcare service providers
  • Enable participating states to communicate with each other through technology

SCRIPTS ultimately will reduce illegal access to prescription medications and ensure proper disposal of these addictive substances.

The ECHO project specifically targets at-risk communities in South Carolina with particularly high rates of prescription drug abuse. It aims to educate the public about issues surrounding prescription substances in order to prevent further abuse. It also prioritizes reducing impaired driving throughout communities. Currently, nine major counties are part of the ECHO project.

This largely volunteer-based program provides recovery and support services to individuals in recovery for a SUD. It provides peer-based support meetings and support via telephone and systems of care to participants. It is designed to prevent relapse and specifically helps individuals who lack a strong support system.

There is a strong commitment to preventative and educational programs among the general public, but still a lack of direct resources for individuals in need of treatment.

South Carolina addiction treatment is largely spread out among major cities and still heavily relies on private providers. Many residents continue to go out of state for their treatment needs. As the state continues to fund new initiatives to combat growing drug and alcohol use rates, more treatment solutions are expected to appear.

South Carolina Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

South Carolina Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

When it comes to South Carolina addiction treatment, selecting the right treatment program can feel overwhelming. After all, treatment is considered the most critical part of the recovery process. Fortunately, most formats offer similar services such as therapy, coaching and various amenities. The intensity and duration of care needed fluctuates the most.


Detoxification, or detox for short, is used as a starting point to the treatment process. Fortunately, many treatment centers offer this service on-site. Many people attempting to recover from a SUD try to detox on their own at-home, but often relapse as a result. This is primarily due to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing in a medical setting provides pain management for intense symptoms, easy access to support and coaching in a peaceful environment.

On-site nurses, doctors and other staff are available 24/7 to assist with symptoms. Detoxing in a medical setting also eliminates stress and potential triggers associated with one’s home environment.

It is important to keep in mind that detox is not intended to serve as a replacement for treatment. It simply breaks the body’s dependence on harmful substances and reduces withdrawal symptoms. As a result, it does not address the complicated underlying factors that surround addiction. Only individualized treatment can accomplish this goal.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation, or residential treatment, is the most intensive option available. It can take place on a short or long-term basis which can last as little as 90 days or as long as one. Inpatient programs are believed to have the highest rates of long-term sobriety because they offer a change of environment along with a structured daily routine. Inpatient treatment offers the following benefits:

  • 24/7 supervision
  • Safe and peaceful setting
  • Recovery-minded environment
  • On-site detoxification, therapy and recreational activities
  • Empowering clients to focus solely on recovery
  • Offering the chance to socialize with others in recovery
  • Reducing the risk of relapse

Residential programs do require clients to relocate temporarily. This can be disruptive to your everyday life. However, it is well worth it in many cases. Individuals struggling with long-term addictions, intense or persistent addiction and who have not had success in a different format may thrive in residential addiction treatment. Individuals with a chaotic or dysfunctional environment at home or who are exposed to constant triggers in their current setting may be a good match for inpatient care as well.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

There are cases where inpatient treatment may not be the best option. If you have a strong support system in place, peaceful home setting and have a relatively moderate addiction, outpatient rehabilitation is worth considering. This format allows you to attend rehabilitation according to a set schedule and return home afterwards.

It is less costly and more flexible but does have its downsides. Since it is unable to provide constant supervision, it is associated with a higher rate of relapse as a result. It also does not offer 24/7 access to support.

However, it does give participants the ability to apply what they have learned during treatment at home and in their daily life. This gives them practical and hands-on experience coping with urges, triggers and stress while they are receiving services. They can then discuss their experiences during treatment to work on aspects where they may need more help. Most outpatient programs last 90 days but can extend to as long as one year.

Typical outpatient programs require at least 10 hours of participation per week. As treatment progresses, the time may be reduced as a means of transitioning out of services successfully.

Types of Therapies

All addiction treatment programs rely on therapy to address behavioral, emotional and mental health issues related to addiction. However, no single approach is superior. Instead, treatment centers offer a variety of different therapies that focus on various aspects of addiction. The leading treatment options include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Motivational interviewing

Some treatment centers also offer alternative therapies such as art therapy, animal-assisted therapy and music therapy. These options are primarily used to help clients develop new hobbies and interests that can serve as a coping mechanism during and following treatment.

Aftercare and Community-Based Support Groups

Aftercare is a term used to categorize ongoing services that are extended to individuals who have completed South Carolina addiction treatment in a rehabilitation program. Aftercare support services focus on relapse prevention strategies such as developing coping skills, identifying and avoiding triggers and stressors and actively participating in community-based organizations.

Community-based support groups are a valuable tool for many people. They are free to participate in, easy to access and can be used on an ongoing basis to maintain recovery. In addition to these benefits, they offer a safe, recovery-minded space to socialize, meet new people and interact in a healthy way. Some of the most popular options include the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Al-Anon
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • SMART Recovery

Many community-based organizations follow a 12-step recovery model while others utilize other approaches. Meetings are available in the day and night to make support accessible for all schedules. Some organizations such as SMART Recovery also offer support via the Web, telephone and through email. Community-based support groups also provide gender-specific support such as women’s meetings and men’s meetings that approach the various needs of its participants. In addition to this, spirituality may also be explored and encouraged.

It is important to try out different options to find the best match for your needs if you feel like you could benefit from participation.

Treatment for Addiction is Available

Treatment for Addiction is Available

South Carolina addiction treatment is rapidly growing to address to the diverse needs of its residents. However, treatment is not yet widely available. Do research regarding all the treatment centers in your area, as well as possible out of state options. If you are ready to start your journey towards recovery from addiction, do not hesitate to reach out to an addiction treatment center that you think would be a good fit for your needs. There is help avilable to work towards a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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