‘Recovery is hard’: Dealing with addiction in Aiken County

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 5:54 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re taking a look at how a local rehab center is working to help people struggling with addiction, especially an addiction to opioids.

The South Carolina Department of Health recently put out a study showing the latest overdose numbers across the state.

The latest report says the Palmetto State saw 430 more overdoses in 2021 than it did the year before. That’s a 25 percent increase.

We were in Aiken where local law enforcement agencies there and across the country are on the front lines in the fight against opioid addiction.

“Recovery is hard. Recovery is extremely hard,” said Jordan Lewis.

As a recovering addict himself, Lewis is speaking from experience.

“There was a point where I experienced homelessness because of my addiction. I’ve lost jobs and relationships. So pretty much from like, 17 to 34 ... drugs and alcohol,” he said.

With overdose rates rising in the Palmetto State, Lewis says it’s becoming harder for people to get help.

“For a lot of private treatment facilities are extremely expensive. And there are just not a lot of options out there for people with lower incomes. The overdose rates are very high right now. It’s scary when someone comes in needing a resource that just isn’t available,” he said.

Lewis got help at the Aiken Center, and he believes in the mission so much, he now works there. He is making it his mission no one gets turned away.

“I have never told someone I can’t help you. I don’t have that in my DNA, I cannot do that. If I come across someone that needs help, I will figure something out,” he said.

One way they help is by helping save addicts from themselves if drugs are lying around, it’s hard to say no.

A lot of the time an overdose can happen when high-power drugs are abused for their intended purpose. As a way to reduce harm, they give out drug deactivation kits. You tear open the pouch, pour in your unwanted, unused, or no longer needed medication, add some water, and 30 seconds later those drugs are now deactivated from their intended use.

You throw it away knowing you have a better chance at life tomorrow. The chance of what could happen tomorrow is worth it.

“I’ve seen a whole lot of great success stories. I’ve seen families reunited. I’ve seen you know, people get married. I’ve seen people start their own business in recovery that had nothing and then they you know, people go from homeless to homeowner,” said Lewis.