South Carolina Substance Abuse


South Carolina's drug abuse problem has grown substantially over the last 10 years and heightened during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Substance abuse is defined as “extreme use of psychoactive drugs, such as alcohol, pain killers, benzodiazepines or illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl. It typically leads to physical, social, or emotional harm.”

Substance abuse statistics indicate that addiction is an increasing problem in South Carolina (like most American states). Since substance abuse is escalating, it is important for the public to be advised about the drugs that are abused, the facts about their abuse, and South Carolina substance abuse treatment options.


Drug abuse in South Carolina has been dominated by illegal fentanyl over the past few years. In fact, from 2019 to 2020, drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased 105 percent in South Carolina, from 537 to 1,100. Additionally, fentanyl is responsible for 79% of all opioid overdose deaths. At the same, South Carolinians should be aware of the dramatic increase in counterfeit pills being sold on the internet through social platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. 

Opioids are found in two different forms

  • Legal prescription opioid pain medication
  • Illicit fentanyl, heroin, or counterfeit pills

Opioid abuse / misuse can lead to the following:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Risk of HIV / Hepatitis C
  • Neglect of home, family, career or school
  • Overdose death


In a 2020 survey, 18% of adults in South Carolina residents reported binge drinking (4-5 drinks) in the past 30 days or heavy drinking (8-15 drinks) in a week. Excessive drinking comes with short and long-term risks.

Short-term alcohol risks include:

  • Moodiness
  • Injuries from falls or car accidents
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky behaviors such as unprotected sex

Long-term risks include:

  • Heart disease, stroke, and liver disease
  • Cancer of the breasts, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, or colon
  • Memory impairment


Most South Carolinians who abuse drugs may start out with a drug of choice but end up with multiple substance addictions. The polysubstance abuse typically happens with different drugs. For example, a person abusing opioids may also take a benzodiazepine, making the mixture especially dangerous. The important statistics to know about combining drugs are:

  • Over 40% of heroin users are also addicted to prescription opioids
  • Alcohol is present in 18.5% of opioid-related hospital visits
  • Increased side-effects associated with either drug
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Respiratory problems like shallow breathing


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following highlighted tenets should form the basis of any effective addiction rehab program:

  • People need to have quick access to treatment.
  • Effective treatment treats all behavioral health issues.
  • Treatment plans should be individual-only.
  • Rehab includes co-occurring disorders care.
  • Medication assisted treatment available for opioids and alcohol.
  • Continuing care available after residential treatment.


BriteLife Recovery is a complete drug abuse treatment rehab located on beautiful Hilton Head Island. Our substance use rehab programs are designed for each client’s particular needs and concentrate on improving overall health and well-being.  With low staff-to-client ratios, clients have access to a range of evidenced-based rehab programs and therapies. Moreover, BriteLife only creates individual care plans that are centered on client choice and health safety. Through detox, residential, partial hospitalization, outpatient, and continuing care programs, clients have a number of ways to find themselves in recovery. We also offer wellness programs like yoga, massage, acupuncture and more to help clients build a strong mind, body, and spirit. By treating clients in this manner, we know it will position them for a positive outcome.

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  • 2200 Main Street, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 29926
  • 866.470.2187