From the office of Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher – Over the past two years, the majority of the media focus has been on the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic is waning, but the number of overdoses and overdose fatalities in Lexington County has exploded to epidemic proportions.
Though Black Balloon Day is recognized on March 6, of every year to bring awareness to overdose deaths, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher states, “That is not enough and we must do more. We need constant awareness to the overdose epidemic that is plaguing our County and our Country.”
To address the epidemic the Lexington County Coroner’s Office has placed a sign in front of the coroner’s office to bring awareness to the residents of Lexington County.
Fisher also states, “Our goal with the new sign is awareness. That is where prevention starts. We hope that one-day folks will ride by and see the number “0” on that sign. Until then, we will continue to be front and center, doing our part to bring awareness and hopefully, an end to overdoses and overdose fatalities in Lexington County.”
“We have lots of vehicle and foot traffic that travels by our office daily,” Fisher said. “We are in close proximity to soccer fields and parks, so we thought why not put the overdose epidemic front and center to those who pass by. Let folks see how deaths due to overdoses are far too common in our County.”
“Let us let people see how quickly the numbers increase, sometimes on a daily basis, and show our folks that this is a problem in our county that cannot be ignored. We have to address this. We cannot sit idly by and watch our community suffer with this overdose epidemic. We have to do our part. Our sign has a hashtag that we came up with and we use at our office, #CoronersCare, because we do. We respond to these deaths from overdoses, we see the sadness, the shame, the guilt that these deaths leave behind, and how hard it is on families, and ourselves as well. It’s hard because we know that these deaths can be prevented. However, we have to do our part. Everyone has to do his or her part. In addition, it has to be more than one day a year. We need to bring awareness to overdoses and overdose fatalities every day. If addiction has not affected your family yet, just wait. It will.”
Lexington County is also one of the first few counties in South Carolina to implement the Overdose Fatality Review Board. Why have the Overdose Fatality Review, which is led by the Lexington County Coroner’s Office? Because overdoses are preventable. There are interventions that exist to reduce the risk of overdoses and death. We need to see where we can improve, and where we can help people before it is too late. Our office meets once a month with law enforcement agencies as well as the Solicitor’s Office, LRADAC, DMH, LC EMS, PPP, LMC, and some recovery centers just to name a few. When multiple agencies come together, we can make a difference.