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Church, police and Shoreline team come together for medication take back in Loris

Members of the Loris First Baptist Church teamed with Shoreline Behavioral Health and Loris Police to collect unused prescription medication after church Sunday. (Madeline Montgomery/WPDE)

Maybe you've had an operation over the last couple of months. Maybe prescription pills are lying around your house, perhaps in your medicine cabinet months after you no longer need them.

In Horry County, like anywhere else, addiction can start in your own home.

"A large part of the community when we do studies say they began using opioids from their own friends and family's homes that led them into heroin use," said Dave Caruso with Shoreline Behavioral Health Sunday.

Caruso, Loris Police, and congregation members at Loris First Baptist Church teamed up for a medication take back event at the church. The goal: have people drop off unused pills from their medicine cabinets and toss them into a safe box -- no questions asked.

"The purpose of every Godly church is to make sure that we do whatever we can to help the community God has placed us within," said Pastor Lewis Venable with the Loris First Baptist Church.

Venable said he and his congregation had to help.

2016 DHEC data suggests Horry County, by far, led all counties across the state in opioid deaths with 101. The next closest was Charleston with 65, although Horry County is the largest county in South Carolina.

"There are people out there addicted to situations that we need to do, whatever we can to help them. Not condemn them and not contribute to their addictions," he said.

Shoreline teamed with Interim Chief Gary Buley for a box at his station a few months ago.

"We can't keep up with it. We can't destroy 'em fast enough," said Buley.

He said he's seen teens struggle with addiction. He's tired of it.

"It's just sad for the community when a child gets a hold of opioids."

Sunday, together, a community dropped their pills for a change.

"It's about getting that information out there so if people do have medication at home, they'll know exactly where to take it," said Caruso.

The drop-off may have ended Sunday, but the wider mission is to continue to get rid of drugs in boxes across the county, said Caruso.

There are 16 boxes in Horry County. For information on where you can find them, click here.

Caruso said Shoreline also distributes disposable bags that fill with water and dissolve medication. He said it's an alternative approach to drop boxes.

If you're interested in medication disposal bags, Caruso said you can visit Shoreline Behavorial Health at 2404 Wise Road in Conway.

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