South Carolina continues to see increase in opioid deaths

South Carolina continues to see increase in opioid deaths

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - South Carolina officials say the number of deaths caused by opioids has increased for the third year in a row.

The state's Opioid Emergency Response Team met Monday. Officials say in a news release that South Carolina had 508 opioid deaths in 2014. That number increased each of the next three years to reach 748 deaths in 2017.

Deaths from prescription drug overdoses increased from 572 in 2014 to 782 last year. Those numbers include drugs that are not opioids.

South Carolina also saw an increase in heroin deaths, from 57 in 2014 to 144.

Overdose deaths involving the powerful opioid fentanyl increased from 68 in 2014 to 362 last year.

Deaths from methadone decreased from 79 in 2014 to 45 in 2017. Methadone treats opioid use disorder.

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