BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — Aug. 31 was international Opioid Overdose Awareness Day and family and community members celebrated this day with their annual walk for the cause.

The Beaufort Drug Free Coalition hosts this walk every year to help spread hope that one day this epidemic will end.

Katie Godowns, senior prevention specialist from the Beaufort Alcohol and Drug Department says, “Our goal is to get the community involved and being a healthier and safer place to live. And, we’re aware that people die everyday from opioid overdoses and we just wanted the community to rally behind it and acknowledge those that we have lost and acknowledge who are still fighting and that it’s okay to ask for help.”

Opioid overdoses are rising at an alarming rate and according to Drugabusestatistics.org, almost 50,000 people die every year from an opioid overdose and Katie also sees just how much the Beaufort County community is suffering.

“Last year 45 fatalities occurred due to opioids and this year we are at 13 and one life is too many and it’s preventable,” Godowns said.

The Beaufort Drug Free Coalition has partnered with Beaufort EMS called the First Responders Project.

Anna Keith, Beaufort EMS says, “We conduct follow-up visits after a person has experienced an overdose, we provide Narcan training to that person and their family members and community resources to them as well”

Amanda Reddish, a Beaufort resident was able to overcome her addiction, and now she serves as a peer support specialist

“As a woman in long-term recovery, my passion is to share hope with people that suffering from substance abuse disorders, my passion is to share my living experience with people that suffering and show them that there is a better way of life”

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, South Carolina has a free 24-hour counseling hotline. The number is 803-896-5555.