“Explosion of drug overdose deaths”: new program to help drug addicts | News

SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (FOX Carolina) – The Spartanburg County coroner says that since the start of 2019, the county has seen an “explosion of drug overdose deaths.”

With overdose deaths on the rise in upstate, a location in Spartanburg is launching a new program to help those struggling with addiction.

The Forrester Center for Behavioral Health reports that in the first month and a half of the program, about 20 people are already working with peer coaches.

“Your life is worth living,” said Christopher Young.

That’s the message Young, who is the peer support team leader for the hospital program, would say to anyone currently struggling with addiction.

He says he also noticed something at the hospital recently.

“The overdoses that we had in the ER, we had a really hard time tracking the patients because they didn’t have a phone or they didn’t have an address where we could track them and they didn’t have no transportation either,” Young explained.

That’s when the Forrester Center decided it was time to start an awareness program.

“We obviously want to engage them before that happens,” said Audrey Colin, senior program coordinator for recovery services.

The program takes people referred by the ER, justice system, family, friends, etc., and connects them with a peer coach like Kyle Grubbs.

“Have someone come in and say ‘Hey yeah, I know what you’re going through, I’ve been through the same thing’ and I’m just trying to be a beacon for that person,” Grubbs said.

One of eight, soon to be nine, coaches, Grubbs himself survived an overdose and has been recovering for five years.

“I couldn’t live with it, I couldn’t live without it, and it couldn’t kill me. Then that’s when I decided to take all those little seeds that had been planted with me over the years and put them into use. And that’s what I’m trying to do here is plant seeds,” he said.

So what exactly does the program do?

Really anything from daily phone calls to checking in, bringing someone groceries, finding them a new place to stay, or getting them into treatment if they want to.

Because the road to recovery, as Young and Colin also experience it, can be long.

“It’s a lifelong treatment to some degree,” Colin said.

Another part of the program is to increase efforts to provide support and treatment to people who live in the more rural parts of the county.

Anyone struggling with addiction or having a struggling loved one interested in the program can contact the Forrester Center directly.

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Ryan H. Bowman