CCU, community leaders promote heroin addiction awareness with PSAs

CCU, community leaders promote heroin addiction awareness with PSAs (Photo Credit: CCU)

The heroin epidemic is making headlines again, and this time local law enforcement and university employees are coming together.

The Video Production Services team within Coastal Carolina University's University of Communication recently teamed up with community leaders to make public service announcements to educate our community.

There are 18 different PSAs and, in each one of them, you can see people from the community sharing their personal experiences.

Those involved in the project said they conducted some research and found that much of the local community isn't aware of how serious the epidemic is in the area.

Officials say 90 percent of all drug crimes in Horry County are heroin-related. Five years ago, it was less than 5 percent.

The number of heroin deaths is also up in the past five years too.

The heroin epidemic is something Horry County Fire Rescue medical officer, Michael Henry, is more familiar with than he'd like to be.

"And, it's caused a lot of tragedy and grief to a lot of members of our community," said Henry.

He said he knew he had to be involved in helping with the PSAs--"there's a lot of emotion, there's a lot of concern, and there's just an overwhelming desire to help the person who got sick."

Horry County Coroner Robert Edge sees the worst of it, when it's too late.

"You hate to see somebody lose their life, and lot's of times these people are professionals. They have good lives in front of them, they have families, they have children, and those families and children, they're left wondering what could I have done to have kept this from happening," said Edge.

Those are the people in the PSAs. The professionals, the families, and the recovering addicts all share their stories because the research has shown our community doesn't realize heroin knows no boundaries.

Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson says the messages are relatable to everyone.

"We're able to relay to the public each one's stories. They may know someone, they might have a loved one, someone in their family, who's affected by it and it lets them know, 'Hey! We're not the only ones.'"

Thompson says it's a growing problem that has gone on far too long, and the solution is education.

"We need to form that partnership between our communities and law enforcement to come together and really combat this epidemic," he said.

If you'd like to view some of the PSAs all the way through, several law enforcement agencies in the community have shared them on social media.

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