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New Prisma Health addiction center offers hope, recovery

Prisma Health has opened the Addiction Medicine Center at Greenville Memorial Hospital, 701 Grove Road, a new program that expands the scope of Prisma’s fight against opioid addiction in the Upstate.

While based in Greenville, the center will extend through the state’s largest health system. It will partner with Clemson University, the University of South Carolina and Furman University to utilize expertise and resources the schools offer.

With street drugs increasingly laced with synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the number of people in South Carolina dying of overdoses went from 692 in a 12-month period ending January 2015 to 2,185 in a 12-month period ending April 2022, a 215% increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Overdose deaths increased 15.5% between 2021 and 2022.

According to Prisma, the center pairs treatment with research in order to break the addiction cycle.

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

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

Ashton Hunt, a Prisma Health patient for three years, struggled with opioid addiction for a number of years before turning to Prisma. She said she tried a number of other programs, without much luck.

Her health was failing after years of addiction, and she eventually developed a blood disease that landed her in Greenville Memorial Hospital. She said she was one of the first patients in the program and hasn’t felt the need to pick up any opioid for three years.

“They gave me a sense of self-worth and freedom,” she said.

Six cores of the center

The Addiction Medicine Center comprises six cores:

  • Education and mentoring
  • Data coordination
  • Prevention and public health
  • Treatment and recovery
  • Research
  • Technology and innovation

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