Columbia, SC (WLTX) - More than 50 recommendations came from the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
On Wednesday, commissioners voted to approve a report that includes recommendations like creating non-addictive painkillers, introducing screening programs to help at-risk youth in schools, and creating college recovery programs.
The full report can be found here.
In 2016, 616 people died of an opioid overdose. Many around the Midlands aer working to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction.
For Brock Sansbury, he hopes sharing his story can help others.
"For me it started with prescription drugs," says Sansbury. "That was easily accessible and ultimately those things dry out and become too expensive. The street drugs become easier and more accessible."
Sansbury became addicted to opioids in 2013.
"I was unemployable, I was un teachable, I was unwilling, I was just about as low as you could go in terms of rock bottom."
At is lowest is when he reached out for help, calling his mother. Eventually, he was checked into a recovery facility in Florida.
"I was in that treatment center for 30 days," says Sansbury. "I was in a sober living facility for another three months. I had a very structured environment for four months. I ended up staying in florida for about a year. I moved back home in October of 2014, about a year sober."
He is now sober, married and working on finishing his degree at the University of South Carolina.
Structured facilities can be hard to come by for some recovering from addiction. The national opioid commission also recommended making it easier to check in to treatment facilities.
That means encouraging the use of recovery coach programs which were limited around the nation.
Sansbury says his first step to recovery was speaking up, that's something he encourages for those struggling with addiction.
"All people aren't comfortable with speaking out and putting their face out there and sometimes I'm not either," says Sansbury. "But in terms of trying to break the stigma and realizing that people in recovery aren't monsters, we're normal people trying to be productive in society and trying to help others. The main thing is that you have to reach out for help. Doing that on your own is very tough, I'm sure it can be done, but you gotta reach out."