South Carolina (WBTV) - On Monday Governor Henry McMaster announced two executive orders meant to fight the opioid crisis in South Carolina.
One order creates an Opioid Emergency Task Force made up of public and private entities. The task force had its first meeting on Tuesday and is expected to meet once a month for the first sixth months of its operation.
The second executive order will eventually create a policy to put a five-day limitation on first-time prescription painkillers for acute and post-operation pain management for people on Medicaid or under the state health plan.
Executive Director of Keystone Substance Abuse Services, Janet Martina, watched the governor's press conference live on Monday.
"I applaud the governor," Martina said.
She says 80 percent of heroin users started with a prescription painkiller. She hopes that the five-day limitation will prevent others from falling into a path of addiction.
However, pharmacists at Good's Pharmacy are not sure it will make much of a difference in the long run. Pharmacist Reagan Faile says in her 20 years at the pharmacy rules on opioid prescriptions have gotten significantly stricter.
For example, she says emergency room doctors cannot prescribe an opioid for longer than three days. To get Hydrocodone a patient has to have a new prescription each month and many doctors make their patients sign agreements that say they are only receiving pain medication from that one doctor.
Faile says while something must be done regarding the opioid crisis, she thinks this could do more damage to those needing and using opioid prescriptions properly.
"They're going to hop around," Faile said regarding opioid abusers. "Yes, it may curb some, but it's going to hurt the patients who truly need the help."
According to the order, the policy should be published by March 1. For more information click here.