Lt. Gov. Evette joins high school coaches to promote the Coaches vs. Overdoses program

Lt. Gov. Evette joins high school coaches to promote the Coaches vs. Overdoses program

Repost of story from MYHORRYNEWS: Coaches vs. Overdoses program comes to Myrtle Beach area by Joe Wedra, — Oct 29, 2023

The national program Coaches vs. Overdoses was officially introduced to the Myrtle Beach area Friday night.

Coaches vs. Overdoses is an opioid abatement program which raises awareness for proper drug disposal and is attempting to fight the country’s opioid epidemic. It was active at Friday’s Myrtle Beach vs. North Myrtle Beach football game, distributing drug disposal packets to fans in attendance.

Supporting the initiative, South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette was at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium serving as an honorary captain.

Evette was in Myrtle Beach to support the efforts of the Coaches vs. Overdoses campaign and to share the group’s key messaging, including phrases like “one pill can kill.”

“This is great, because this is who we want to reach,” Evette said of the program being able to have a presence at Friday’s well-attended rivalry game.

“We want to reach the athletes and we want to reach parents. We want them to take the playbook that has been put together and make them understand. I have three kids, and they don’t think this kind of stuff is going to come to their school, their neighborhood or their friend group. But the shocking reality is that we are losing kids as young as 10 years old due to the fentanyl crisis.”

The new national pilot program has now launched in five states, with South Carolina being a state where efforts have been significant.

South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Executive Director Scott Earley — who was the head football coach at Myrtle Beach High School from 2000-2008 — is leading the charge to promote the Coaches vs. Overdoses program in the state.

Earley said after meeting with various leaders and seeing its significant effects in other states, it was an obvious decision to make this area a key initiative for the association.

“My charge is to inform and educate,” Earley said. “And looking at the data, that produces positive success when it comes to fighting against opioids. So for me, this just made sense. I wanted to try to get this thing off the ground and grow it. Then, if the tidal wave comes here to the great state of South Carolina, we might have some preventative measures in place that can cause us not to suffer what these other states have.”

Coaches vs. Overdoses began with Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy White’s desire to turn a tragic situation into a positive lesson for others. White lost a son-in-law to a fake pain pill, and he is now helping to raise two grandchildren due to the tragedy.

The program is attempting to underscore the importance of disposing of unused drugs, which is why it is handing out pocket-sized DisposeRx disposal kits across the country. Friday’s event in Myrtle Beach coincided with Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day as well as October being Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

Earley said his goal is to help athletes understand how difficult it can be to spot fake pills. He hopes the messaging of Coaches vs. Overdoses can help prevent potential tragedies across the state of South Carolina.

“A lot of our athletes across the country who are losing their lives are losing it by accident,” Earley said. “But they just haven’t been educated on it. I think this thing got here a lot faster than we thought it was coming. So, I want to be a part of that [education].”

Evette said efforts like Friday night’s are valuable for everyone, particularly students at the local level.

She hopes that the initiative can provide valuable awareness in schools across the state and says that can start with providing information to athletes.

“A lot of our high school athletes, they are leaders in the school,” Evette said. “They are role models in the school. So we want to make sure they are armed with the right information and they pass it on to their peer groups.”

Earley’s efforts with Coaches vs. Overdoses is just getting started, and he hopes that Friday night’s introduction into the Myrtle Beach area is the beginning of a charge to “prevent, not solve” issues.

The program hopes to continue to share key statistics that they provide, including:

  • The rate of overdose deaths among U.S. teenagers nearly doubled in 2020
  • 70% of teens say unused prescriptions were their first source of acquiring drugs
  • 65% of teens are less likely to consider misusing Rx drugs if warned about fentanyl in counterfeits

Friday was not the end of the efforts in the Myrtle Beach area. It is expected that a further emphasis will be placed on the program in December at the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives North vs. South Bowl at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.

Earley is excited to help bring the message to the Myrtle Beach area.

“We wanted Myrtle Beach to be a part of this because they do so much,” Earley said. “The city of Myrtle Beach has been so great to all of us over the years. It was just one of those things that really worked out.

“Myrtle Beach will always be home to me. It will always be a special place in my heart. It’s just a good place to do things… The more people who hear the message, the more people get the message. It’s kind of like going to church.”