Jurisdiction: Orangeburg County, population 86,934
From 2018 to 2019, Orangeburg County experienced an 88 percent increase in the number of opioid-involved deaths, the second largest percent increase in the state. In 2019, the county recorded 27 total drug overdose deaths when adjusted to a population of 100,000. In particular, drug overdose deaths are becoming an increasingly salient challenge issue with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the jurisdiction of the City of Orangeburg, there are two universities, which introduces a population that is particularly vulnerable to drug abuse and overdose deaths.
The Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the substance use authority for prevention, intervention, and treatment for Orangeburg, Bamberg, and Calhoun Counties, has been critical in an ongoing effort to safely dispose of drugs in a safe and secure manner. There are currently six drug disposal boxes in the Tri-County area, but only one located within the City of Orangeburg limits. Given that more than 137,000 prescriptions, including opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and muscle relaxants, were distributed in Orangeburg County in 2019, the limited number of drug disposal boxes within city limits presents a problem for the public.
The City of Orangeburg Department of Public Safety (ODPS) will purchase and house a permanent drug disposal box at its headquarters, as well as purchase and distribute drug deactivation pouches to ultimate users. Pouches will be distributed at public events and health fairs, by ODPS officers, and by the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the Edisto Health Coalition.