Staff Report

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Many have called drug addiction an epidemic in the U.S., which is affecting communities at city, state and national levels.

According to the United Health Foundation, drug deaths have increased by 34 percent in South Carolina over the last three years.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates 20 million people in the United States have a substance use disorder.

“Addiction is a disease, but it’s manageable, it’s treatable and it’s something that people can recover from and still have an awesome life. So we want to shatter that stigma in any way we can,” said Alex Greenawalt, prevention director at Keystone Substance Abuse Services in Rock Hill.

Greenawalt, who was a guest on the Palmetto Report podcast, said alcohol is the top substance that is being abused in York County.

“We are one of the top 10 (counties) in the country for the highest rates of DUIs, driving under the influence,” she said. “Youth in the community, the biggest thing with our high school and middle school youth is vaping.”

However, she says methamphetamine, stimulants, opioids and benzodiazepines (sometimes called benzos) are some the drugs currently “trending” in York County.

Greenawalt said it’s crucial substance users know help is available and recovery is possible in order for them to grow and stay healthy.

Keystone offers a variety of programs, including inpatient and outpatient programs, withdrawal management programs, and youth and adolescence programs.

“Keystone’s biggest mission is promoting health, hope and healing for those with a substance abuse disorder and to us what health, hope and healing means is getting somebody well again. Getting somebody stable (and) back on their feet, so they can have healthy, well-fulfilling life,” said Greenawalt.

Greenawalt said Keystone wants people to know that they offer their services regardless of a person’s ability to pay, because they believe that money should not be a roadblock to wellbeing.

She encouraged people to reach out to Keystone if they or someone they know needs help or support on their road to recovery.

Greenawalt said Keystone can be reached by phone at 803-324-1800 or through direct message to their Facebook or Instagram accounts.

“There is a life beyond addiction and it’s a great life in recovery,” she said.

* Thalia Bastidas, Abby Helm & Jazmyne Irions contributed to this report.