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Partnerships with Purpose

Georgetown County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission | Helping people take the first step toward recovery

The first step is always the hardest.

Those needing treatment services from the Georgetown County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission are often the last ones to admit it. Their substance use disorder convinces them they are OK, they don’t have a problem or they can stop using on their own.


FOUNDED | 1973

MISSION| Reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences resulting from the use of alcohol and other drugs.

LOCATION| 423 Winyah St., Georgetown

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“Our No. 1 priority is helping people get started with their recovery,” said Raphael Carr, executive director of the Georgetown County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. “The hardest part of recovery is getting started, opening that door to help.”

Once a client opens that door, the commission is with them every step of the way. The not-for profit offers intensive outpatient therapy and aftercare, including group, individual and family counseling sessions.

Clients needing intensive services often participate in three-hour group sessions, three times a week. A care plan is crafted based on each client’s unique needs. But the core message is consistent: You are not alone, and you can make it through this.

“We help them on their path to long-term recovery,” Carr said. “It’s individualized treatment.”

Established in 1973, the commission also offers prevention and intervention services. It partners with state and local agencies to reduce and control problems related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The commission is one of about 25 partners in the Tidelands Community Care Network, which was created by Tidelands Health in partnership with Access Health SC and The Duke Endowment. The network is comprised of health educators, state agencies, transportation providers, primary and specialty care providers and others who can help uninsured and underinsured residents gain access to medical care.

“The Georgetown County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission does extraordinary work in our community not only with their prevention efforts, but by helping those abusing alcohol or drugs get the assistance they need to turn their lives around,” said Kelly Kaminski, director of community health resources for Tidelands Health.

Over the past year, the commission provided treatment services to more than 400 residents, and its prevention efforts reached nearly 2,900 people, Carr said.

Some clients reach out to the commission on their own, or a loved one brings them for treatment. Others, including those convicted of driving or boating under the influence or related offenses such as suspended licenses, are referred to the commission to complete the required Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program so they can be eligible to again get their driver’s license.

Those clients might take part in the PRIME for Life alcohol and drug education program, which aims to reduce the risk for impairment problems and health issues by challenging the common beliefs and attitudes that directly contribute to high-risk alcohol and substance use.

“Still, our No. 1 presenting problem is alcohol,” Carr said.

But the number of opioid cases started increasing considerably a few years ago as the opioid epidemic took hold across the country. The commission worked with other agencies to help get Narcan, which is administered to reverse an opioid overdose, in the hands of first responders. It also works with its partners to get clients access to medication-assisted therapy.

“We’ve enhanced our response to address it,” Carr said.

But the commission isn’t only there once folks have developed a substance use disorder. The group also offers a range of prevention programming, including a partnership with local schools to teach children the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.

The task of helping all those in Georgetown County who need the commission’s services can be daunting, but the organization tackles the task just like its clients address their problems.

“We’ve got to take it one day at a time,” Carr said.