News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Announces New Dashboards to Help Monitor State Level Trends in Prescription Medications Filled

April 29, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) launched interactive online Prescription Monitoring Program dashboards, providing the public and stakeholders with access to data and analytics related to the dispensing of three prescribed controlled substances: opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants.  

DHEC created the new dashboards and they will be available both on DHEC’s website and on, a DAODAS-maintained site providing resources, tools, information and data about the opioid crisis in South Carolina. 

DHEC launched the South Carolina Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) in 2008 to improve the state’s ability to identify and stop the diversion, or unintended distribution, of prescription drugs in an efficient and cost-effective manner without impacting the appropriate and intended medical use of these medications. 

The new dashboards will be updated quarterly to provide actionable data for a rolling two-year period and are broken down into three categories of prescription drugs: 

"We are really excited to release these dashboards to the public, and by doing so, will further part of the agency’s mission to promote and protect the public,” said Chelsea Townsend, PharmD, Director of DHEC’s Prescription Monitoring Program. “A lot of hard work and research has gone into making it a useful tool for everyone. We encourage county level officials to use the data to educate those in their community about prescription trends at the local and state level. To raise awareness about this important issue, we are providing this accessible data to everyone." 

The dashboards are highly interactive, and users are encouraged to explore the data by hovering over graphics to see additional information regarding the visuals.  

Recent trends outlined by the program’s epidemiologist, Samantha Donnelly, include: 

  • Changes in opioid prescriptions over the last year: 
    • Opioid prescriptions used for pain have decreased by 2% compared to this time last year.  
    • Opioid prescriptions used to treat substance use disorders have increased by 4% compared to this time last year. 
  • A decrease in benzodiazepine prescriptions: 
    • Benzodiazepine prescriptions have decreased by 3% compared to this time last year. Patients 65+ years of age account for 42% of the patients receiving benzodiazepine prescriptions currently in 2024. 
  • An increase in stimulant prescriptions:  
    • Stimulant prescriptions have increased by 7% compared to this time last year. Currently, the average age for an individual who is dispensed stimulants is 35.  

“Making this data more accessible will provide insight into statewide and county-specific trends, giving all residents and stakeholders the opportunity to address needs and help combat the drug epidemic in their communities,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director. “Prescription medications are critically important to patients, but it is important that monitoring take place to ensure that these drugs are not misused.” 

DAODAS director Sara Goldsby agreed. 

“A lot of work has been done over the years to ensure that South Carolina’s prescribers, pharmacists and other professionals are maximizing the potential of the Prescription Monitoring Program,” Goldsby said. “These new public-facing dashboards are valuable informational tools that will lead to better care and better oversight of the prescription medications that are dispensed.”



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