HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A Myrtle Beach-area drug treatment facility is working to get ahead of the opioid crisis on the Grand Strand.

Crossroads Treatment Centers use medication-assisted treatment, also referred to as MAT, to treat people who are dealing with an opioid-use disorder.

The facility had an open house on Thursday to help spread awareness about opioids, which were blamed for about 80% of the roughly 2,200 drug overdose deaths in South Carolina in 2021, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The DHEC data also showed 212 opioid overdose deaths in Horry County in 2021, with 188 of those connected to fentanyl.

At Crossroads, we have a tree, and we are rooted in recovery, and we are as a team rooted in recovery and we want to share that with our patients helping them to grow their roots and be strong,” said Cynthia Greiner, the program director for Crossroads of Myrtle Beach.

Crossroads operates the largest medication-assisted program in the state and is recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and other professional associations as the “gold standard in care” for opioid-use disorder.

We definitely want to get out there and make people aware that opioid use disorder is a real disorder and 70% of people who are on MAT have long-lasting recovery,” said Loren Seda, a senior substance abuse counselor for Crossroads.

Medication-assisted treatment is similar to a nicotine patch used to treat those with a smoking addiction. Patients take methadone or suboxone to ease the craving while still being able to function and live their daily lives.

“It’s not just a  medication, and it’s not substituting a medication for their drug on the street,” Greiner said. “It’s actually helping them to function and to be able to work and take care of their families”

Crossroads also provides patients with counseling services as part of its efforts to provide treatment for more than just substance abuse.

“That’s why we’re here,” Greiner said. “To help them get their lives back.”

The Crossroads Center of Hope staff members also said there is a huge gap between those who need treatment and those who have access to treatment that they are working to close.

* * *

Claire Purnell is a multimedia journalist at News13. Claire is from Louisville, Kentucky. Claire joined the News13 team in January 2023 after graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder in December 2022. Follow Claire on Twitter and read more of her work here.