National opioid crisis town hall held at CSU
Last night, Charleston Southern University hosted a national town hall with sponsors Sinclair Broadcast Group, WCIV News 4 and Liberty University – a fourth installment in a series bringing awareness to the national opioid epidemic.
Host Eric Bolling led the discussion, asking questions of a panel to explore possible solutions and responsibility. He spoke of his personal connection to this growing national crisis. Bolling’s only son, Eric Chase, accidentally overdosed on what he thought was a Xanax pill. “It happened to be laced with fentanyl,” Bolling said.
Just last year, there were more than 47,000 opioid overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And, the number of deaths continue to rise in South Carolina.
Nanci Steadman-Shipman also lost her son, Creighton, to a heroin overdose. She co-founded Wake Up Carolina in an effort to help end substance abuse and find a path to recovery for those battling addiction.
“I was a helicopter mom,” Steadman-Shipman said. “There were no typical warning signs.” She added that there were no drugs in her house; he wasn’t thrown in jail – what she thought would be typical of drug addiction. The red flags were simple things like not answering group family texts.
Other panelists included:
- State Representative Russell Frye
- Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie
- Mike Corvino, CSU alumnus and an adjunct professor in the Physician Assistant program
- Caitlin Kratz, program administrator for Charleston Center’s Opioid Treatment Services
- CSU President Dondi Costin
- Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. and Becky Falwell
Dr. Dondi Costin, like many others, knows people who have been and are affected by an opioid addiction. He shared that CSU is committed to bringing awareness to the national opioid crisis and to preparing CSU students and graduates to “speak to the spiritual, the emotional, the relational” needs of those in the community.
“The opioid crisis speaks to learning, leadership and service,” he said, relating it back to CSU’s mission and vision. “What we’d like to do is make awareness of this crisis larger and larger and larger, so that we can raise the stakes for universities, raise the stakes for churches, raise the stakes for individuals, so that they don’t have to wait like I waited – until a family member is affected.”
Watch the full video of the town hall below or here on ABC News 4.
- Opioid Treatment Services, Charleston Center 843.722.0100
- National Opioid Action Network 1.800.622.4357