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Prisma Health forms SC addiction center for research and treatment in face of opioid crisis

State - 9/14/2022

Prisma Health has started a center to pair research with treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.

The Addiction Medicine Center will be based in Greenville.

“The toll of opioid addiction on South Carolina and the entire nation gives historic urgency to our work in this area,” Dr. Alain Litwin, the center’s executive director, said in a news release.

He said the center will join forces with Clemson University and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville to develop new ways to care for patients, based on what physicians are seeing and through innovative research.

Litwin is also vice chair for academics and research at the Greenville medical school and is a professor with the Clemson University School of Health Research.

“One of the Addiction Medicine Center’s key programs is our outpatient addiction treatment program at Greenville Memorial Hospital, which enrolls patients with opioid use disorder and/or alcohol use disorder,” Claire Stam, director of the Addiction Medicine Center, said in a news release.

Furman University will also be part of the center, as will various emergency departments.

“The Emergency Department, open 24/7/365, is often the first and only healthcare venue for recognition and engagement for people with substance use disorders and/or associated infections,” said Dr. Phillip Moschella, MD, assistant research director for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital.

The center will provide education and mentoring, data coordination, prevention and public health, treatment and recovery, research and technology and innovation.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control states opioid overdoses have reached epidemic levels in South Carolina and the rest of the nation, especially during the COVID pandemic. Social isolation and depression are considered factors for the increase.

DHEC reports that from 2019 to 2020, overdose deaths due to opioids increased by 59%, from 876 to 1,400.

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