Local and state leaders meet with citizens to discuss heroin epidemic


CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Local and state leaders held an open hearing Wednesday evening to address the heroin and opioid epidemic in South Carolina.

Heroin addiction is a problem all across America, but particularly in Horry County. WMBF News has done special reports on the issue in the past.

Some of the guest speakers at Wednesday evening’s event included Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson and Brad Dean with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

The main purpose of the event was for the committee to listen to ideas on how to fix the problem. One idea was offered by Thompson.

“What I proposed is that they look at legislation that in the event someone sells an illegal narcotic to an individual and as a result, that person passes away – dies as a result – then we look at bringing a law forward that the person that sold it can be charged with manslaughter,” Thompson said.

Members of the community also had the chance to share how they have been affected by heroin addiction.

Some people shared stories of how they were addicted to heroin. Others talked about how someone they love is or was addicted.

“Our son Tim was extremely smart and talented,” Lorraine Ryan said. “He had much to offer the world. But he evidently did not see it that way.”

Ryan shared the story of her son who passed away in 2014 from a heroin overdose.

“He left behind a fiancée and a child who is now three years old,” she said. “At the time of Tim’s death, the baby was only two months old. And he has also left behind a shattered family.”

Going forward, the committee will continue to listen to ideas on how to fix issues, and they will continue to push legislation forward that will help stop the crisis.

“The state is serious about finding solutions to this problem,” Representative Russel Fry said.

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