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Arnold School of Public Health

Bestselling author Beth Macy to discuss overdose crisis on National Rural Health Day

November 9, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services and South Carolina Office of Rural Health will co-host New York Times bestselling author Beth Macy for a National Rural Health Day Lecture on Thursday, November 17 (3-5 p.m.) at the USC Pastides Alumni Center Ballroom (900 Senate Street, Columbia, S.C. 29201). An award-winning journalist and Harvard Nieman Fellow, Macy will discuss the overdose crisis as chronicled in her most recent book, RAISING LAZARUS – a follow-up to her 2018 bestseller DOPESICK (also a limited series released on Hulu and Disney+ with Macy as executive producer and starring Michael Keaton).

Members of the community and the media are invited to attend this free event. Refreshments are provided, and registration is required:

Opioid/Overdose Facts
  • Ten million Americans (ages 12 and older) misuse opioids each year (HHS).
  • There are over 11,500 South Carolinians with opioid use disorder (SC HHS).
  • There are 92,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. each year, with 75 percent involving an opioid (CDC).
  • Over 1,700 South Carolinians died as the result of drug overdoses in 2020, and most of those deaths involved an opioid. (SCDHEC)
  • More than 760,000 Americans have died since 1999 from a drug overdose (HHS), with related deaths increasing by 400 percent during this time period.
  • Annual deaths from opioid use disorder surpass traffic fatalities and deaths from HIV/AIDS (even at the height of that epidemic).
  • Most Americans who need treatment for opioid use disorder do not receive it. (SAMHSA)
  • South Carolina will receive more than $360 million in legal settlement funds to address the impacts of the opioid crisis in the state.

RAISING LAZARUS and DOPESICK are based on 30 years of Macy’s reporting in southwest Virginia, where she has lived since 1989. In her articles and books, Macy brings attention to social issues faced by marginalized groups, such as those living in distressed Appalachian communities. She also highlights the work of those on the front lines, including medical professionals and activists.

“A very small percentage of Americans really understand that abstinence-only thinking is wrong where opioids are concerned,” Macy told the Los Angeles Times when RAISING LAZARUS was released in August. “It’s sad that some of the hardest-hit places, especially in the South, are the most resistant.”

Join us to hear from Macy as she discusses the search for solutions, hope and justice to addiction – which she calls the number one destroyer of families in our lifetime – as well as the future of America’s overdose crisis.

Macy will be available for book signing and media interviews after the lecture. South Carolina rural health, public health and addiction experts/leaders are available to answer questions prior to the event.

To coordinate coverage, contact Erin Bluvas at or 843-302-1681.

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