HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County and three municipalities — Conway, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach — are forming a partnership that officials say will be key to helping solve the Grand Strand’s opioid epidemic.
The government recently agreed to submit a joint “letter of intent” to participate in an opioid remediation program.
As the county’s largest municipality, Myrtle Beach this summer began an opioid response program. Horry County’s public safety division is also also trying to tackle the problem, and the county has been guaranteed funding from the South Carolina opioid recovery fund.
The county government and the three municipalities have proposed to pool planned funding for a total of $100,000, according to Beth Tranter, the county’s deputy director of the Department of Community Development/Grants and Resilience.
“Rather than various organizations trying to tackle it individually, coming together collaboratively could provide a really unique opportunity for our area,” said Michelle Smith, the opioid program coordinator for Myrtle Beach.
Officials said the money will go toward hiring a consultant to develop a coordinated plan. Smith said knows what she would like to see the plan accomplish.
“Remediate and address the underlying factors that are really fueling the epidemic in our area,” she said.
In a statement, Horry County Fire Rescue said its harm-reduction specialists will play key roles in responding to the current high rate of opioid overdoses in Horry County.
“The specialists will work with local, regional and state partners to make an impact on those numbers and hopefully reverse the trend that we’ve seen in recent years,” the statement said.
Smith also said she hopes the plan will result in more recovery, treatment and transportation options.
“Horry County is ranked No. 1 when you compare overdoses and transmitted diseases in comparison to the available resources, so that is definitely No. 1, Smith said.
The letter of intent will need to go through an approval process before a master plan is created, officials said.