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Governor Henry McMaster Announces SC Opioid Emergency Response Plan


June 20, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced the South Carolina Opioid Emergency Response Plan, which details strategy and guidance developed to support state and local efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. The state Opioid Emergency Response Plan was developed as part of the ongoing collaboration of more than two dozen organizations that comprise the recently formed S.C. Opioid Emergency Response Team, which was created by Governor McMaster in December of 2017.

“This plan is a living, breathing document that we will add to and amend as we encounter new issues and achieve successes,” Governor McMaster said. “We will combat the opioid crisis the only way our state knows how: as one team collaborating and sharing talents and resources to help the people of South Carolina.”

The State Law Enforcement Division and the S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services serve as the lead agencies of the SCOERT. The team has identified four focus areas to address the opioid problem, including: education and communication, prevention and response, treatment and recovery, and coordinated law enforcement strategies.

Below are the different sections of the plan, which will be used to guide the statewide response to the opioid crisis:

Opioid Emergency Response Team Base Plan

Annex 1 – Educate and Communicate (Annex 1 will help inform the conversations that physicians have with their patients regarding pain and pain management, as well as continue raising the general population’s awareness of the dangers of opioid use.)

Annex 2 – Prevent and Respond (Annex 2 will emphasize first-line prevention of opioid use disorder, with agencies coordinating a public health approach to addressing primary prevention, treatment, and rescue actions.)

Annex 3 – Treat and Recover (Annex 3 will work to eliminate barriers to treatment access – including the shame associated with seeking help – and to develop more treatment and recovery opportunities.)

Annex 4 – Coordinated Law Enforcement (Annex 4 will help expand drug take-back programs, increase resources to combat illicit opioid supply chains, reduce the number of fatal opioid overdoses, and facilitate access to care instead of incarceration.)

Similar to existing emergency response plans coordinated by SCEMD, the state’s opioid emergency plan begins with basic guidance for how organizations should work together to combat the opioid epidemic in South Carolina. The basic plan is followed by annexes that detail specifics for how organizations should address the four focus areas. The base plan and its annexes are designed to be evolving documents that can be modified and adapted to address the needs of local communities.

The SCOERT effort is already showing tangible results of agencies working together. A new map-based data portal was recently added to the state’s opioid crisis education campaign website,, which displays opioid-related mortality data and is searchable by county. The data displayed is provided as part of the SCOERT collaboration, including DAODAS, the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control, SCEMD and others.

The South Carolina Opioid Emergency Response Team is a collaborative effort created by executive order issued by Governor Henry McMaster. The SCOERT is comprised of state and local agencies with expertise in substance use disorders and treatment, public health and medical affairs, emergency response and planning, as well as law enforcement coordination and strategy. For more information, visit

id Emergency Response Plan

 The purpose of this plan is to provide guidance and a detailed strategy of state and local efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.  The state Opioid Emergency Response Plan has been developed as part of the ongoing collaboration of more than two dozen organizations and contains four focus areas to address the opioid problem, including: education and communication, prevention and response, treatment and recovery, and coordinated law enforcement strategies.


 Opioid Emergency Response Team Base Plan



AAPA House of Delegates Summary of Actions - New Orleans 2018 


AAPA House of Delegates was held at the Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA this May 2018.  Speak of the House and VP of AAPA Dr. David Jackson, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA stated "The House conducted important work critical tot he future of the profession, not the least of which was a discussion and reaffirmation of our work on optimal team practice. The House additionally saw a unified effort from the AAPA Board, PAEA, ARC-PA and NCCPA leadership to jointly recommend the House pass a resolution that, “requests that the Board of Directors contract with the appropriate independent consulting/research firms to investigate state/federal, financial, political, branding aspects, and alternatives to the creation of a new professional title for physician assistants that accurately reflects AAPA professional practice policies, reporting the results to the 2019 HOD.” It was great to see all of the organizations working together and offering support!"


To see the complete Summary of Actions, click here.


If you have any questions or concerns, SCAPA has 3 Delegates to the AAPA House of Delegates, and their contact information can be found here; please feel free to reach out and share your thoughts with us!


About the growth of the PA profession in South Carolina?

  • The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning in South Carolina estimates a 40% grown in employment for PAs between 2008 and 2018.
  • Currently, the Medical University of South Carolina offers the only PA program in the state of South Carolina. Two new PA programs, both offering Master’s degrees, are expected to launch in South Carolina within the next 3 years.
  • Francis Marion University will offer a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies beginning in August 2016. The program expects to graduate 25-30 students each year.
  • North Greenville University, partnered with Greenville Health System, expects to launch a Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program in January 2017. The program plans to begin with 32 students.
  • According to the 2014 South Carolina Health Professions Data Book, approximately 25% of PAs in South Carolina have primary practice sites in Charleston County. With the addition of PA programs in the Upstate and Pee Dee areas, more South Carolina patients can benefit from the care provided by PAs.


About SCAPA’s ASPIRE Program?

  • The ASPIRE Program is designed for students interested in becoming PAs and there are 171 current members. 
  • In 2014, SCAPA added an ASPIRE Committee to manage this growing program.
  • The ASPIRE Committee is organizing quarterly lectures and panel discussions.
  • During the recent SCAPA CME Conference, the ASPIRE Committee presented a panel discussion titled 'Becoming a PA' to over 30 aspiring PAs.
  • Quarterly emails are sent to members advising them of timely preparations for the PA school application process.


PA Week is October 6-12!

  • SCAPA encourages you to promote PA Week within your healthcare organization.
  • Easy ideas for participation:
  • Post about PAs and PA Week on social media.
  • Display a poster in your office, hospital or other workspace.
  • Provide educational materials to your patients.


Hydrocodone combination products will become Schedule II on October 6, 2014?

  • These medications will require a written prescription every 30 days with no refills allowed.
  • In 2013, the South Carolina Physician Assistant Practice Act was revised to allow PAs to prescribe Schedule II medications.
    • PAs may write a prescription for continuation of a Schedule II medication previously written by a Physician, as long as strength, instructions and number dispensed remain unchanged.
    • New prescriptions are limited to a 3 day supply.
    • One dose of a Schedule II parenteral medication can be ordered in a 24 hour period.
  • For detailed information on obtaining Schedule II Prescriptive Authority visit our website at 
  • To read the AAPA's response to the DEA's decision to reclassify hydrocodone combination products, visit

About the Recovering Professional Program?
  • As licensees of the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, Physician Assistants are eligible for assistance in addiction therapy through Recovering Professional Program (RPP).
  • Self-referrals to RPP are confidential and not reported to Board of Medical Examiners.
  • Resources are available 24 hours a day by calling 1-877-349-2094.
  • SCAPA appoints a representative to serve on the Physicians Advocacy & Assistance Committee, a committee of the South Carolina Medical Association tasked with ensuring resources are available to professionals seeking assistance with addiction recovery. 
  • See the PA Recovery Program section of our website under Resources for more information.  
About Our Member Discounts?
  • 10% off PANCE/PANRE 3 day review course registration through Certified Medical Educators.
  • 5% premium discount on professional liability insurance through Coverys.
  • Free legal consultation and reduced fees from regional law firms.
  • Discounted scrubs and professional coats through Medelita.
  • Look for details of these great services & products coming soon to the ‘Members Only’ section of our website.
  • We are continually looking for discounts to offer SCAPA members.
How SCAPA spends your Membership Dues?
  • 54% of your dues support the annual CME conference, which brings in nearly 80% of SCAPA’s annual operating budget.
  • We are privileged to have an outstanding Executive Director, Janet Jordan, and approximately 16% of your dues allow us to sustain her leadership of our organization.
  • Over 12% of your membership dues go directly to support our legislative efforts.
  • The remaining 18% sustain programs including public education, diversity, professional wellness and physician assistant reimbursement efforts.  
About the Career Center?
  • As a SCAPA member, you have access to the Career Center where you can search for jobs in South Carolina, or across the country.
  • Between October and December, nearly 50 jobs were posted through the Career Center.
  • You can post your resume at no charge for review by employers.
  • If your current employer is looking to advertise a PA job, encourage them to visit the SCAPA website to promote the position.
About Our Annual CME Conference...
  • 2017 was the final year for Wild Dunes Resort hosting the annual SCAPA CME Conference; our conference has outgrown the space.  2018 CME Conference will be held at Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, SC. 
  • Registration for the SCAPA CME Conference is online! Click here for more information: CME Income from the Annual CME Conference helps support SCAPA projects for the entire year.
  • SCAPA Members save the cost of their membership dues when registering for the CME Conference.

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