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City of Cayce approves new position to address opioid crisis

With his staff seeing an average of 1 to 2 overdoses per week, Cayce's fire chief is hoping a new approach to the problem will pay off.

CAYCE, S.C. — A position passed Cayce's City Council aimed at community outreach and youth education for an ongoing opioid crisis 

Cayce Fire Department Chief Steven Bullard says his vision for a new position is to "get rid of the opioid crisis that we have here in South Carolina."

In Wednesday's city council meeting, his agency received approval for a new position he calls the community Risk Reduction Manager.

"So this is going to be a position that's going to provide public outreach and education in the community on the effects of opioids and other drugs."

He says this new position is being funded from the South Carolina Opioid Recovery Fund with money from the South Carolina Opioid Litigation Settlement that provides millions of dollars from opioid production companies. 

"They sent out a notification last year that this money was going to be available to  every city, county in the state, we had a certain time to apply and we took the steps to apply."

He adds the fund will pay for the first 5 years of the program and says the plan is to have the city pay for the program afterwards.

Opioid overdoses are something his staff see on a regular basis. He says throughout the year the city experiences on average between one and two overdoses per week. He spoke about the daily responsibilities for the role.

"They'll be out in schools, out in the community doing all kinds of outreach. They'll also be working with state and other local partners, such as the department of mental health, and other resources."

The decision is receiving support from the community, too. Max Carroll lives in Cayce.

"It's one of those things like, an ounce of prevention is worth of cure. So if we can stop someone from reaching the point where they're using opioids or other substances, than I think that's worth it's weight in gold."

Chief Bullard shared his vision for what the opioid crisis will look like in 5-years and tells News19 the plan is begin the search after the city's budget is approved, so likely July 1st will be the official start of the search

"That we don't have any overdoses or have any more or problems with the opioids, that's my goal whether that happens is still yet to be seen."

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