Program in Berkeley County is helping new pharmacists fight the opioid crisis

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Berkeley County Coroner’s Office is partnering with The Kennedy Center to help new pharmacists learn more about how they can help fight the opioid crisis.

“We had 83 overdoses last year in Berkeley County,” said Allison Bilton, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Berkeley County Coroner’s Office.

And so far, data from this year is not looking great when it comes to overdose deaths.

“The last number I checked, which would’ve been the end of April, I think we had 14 confirmed and we have – right now we’re waiting on toxicology tests – but I think we have about 19 suspected,” Bilton added.

Bilton said the coroner’s office confiscated 102,000 prescription pills on scenes last year. “So, we destroyed over 102,000 pills just from death scenes in Berkeley County last year,” she said.

She said one thing the coroner’s office is doing is working to educate future pharmacists from the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) College of Pharmacy about the problem.

“It’s by bringing in the people that are in school learning to be pharmacists or other medical professionals,” she said.

The Kennedy Center helps people in Berkeley County with drug or alcohol addiction. They help with the classes.

“What should pharmacists be looking for when they have a script coming into their pharmacy? Is there and warning signs they should be looking for- do they see that this person has been doctor hopping, or they’ve seen multiple prescriptions multiple times,” said Talia Wahl, Partnership for Success Project Coordinator, The Kennedy Center.

Wahl added, “We talked to them a lot of times about disposal of medication, letting them know about things like Deterra to easily dispose of medication at home. We also talked to them a lot about Narcan, which is being talked about a lot as an opioid reversal drug.”

They also let them know that some of the drugs to fight opioids can be acquired at no cost for people in need. 

“It’s collaboration and community that are going to help change the future,” said Bilton.