Former Rep. Bedingfield receives high honor after crusade agains - FOX Carolina 21

Former Rep. Bedingfield receives high honor after crusade against opioid crisis

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Bedingfiled receives Order of the Palmetto. (1/29/18 FOX Carolina) Bedingfiled receives Order of the Palmetto. (1/29/18 FOX Carolina)

Former Representative Eric Bedingfield said serving is something that is apart of him.

He served the country as a marine, and for the past 11 years, as a house representative for the state. 

After stepping down last week, Governor Henry McMaster awarded Bedingfield with the Order of the Palmetto. It's the highest civilian honor for a person making contributions to the state. 

"I wasn't raised, or groomed or educated in such a fashion to think the General Assembly would be in my future," Bedingfield said. 

His crusade against the opioid epidemic has introduced several bills, many making their way across the governor's desk. 

"I will continue to come and go from Columbia to speak on the legislation that is being proposed. Those items won't change in level of importance to me just because I'm not there as a voting member."

The opioid epidemic is one he chooses to combat in a very personal way.

"I kind of hid from it for the first few months, wasn't sure if it was something that I wanted to talk about or not talk about. I began to be reached out by other families who have been affected. It dawned on me I was wasting an opportunity, one that my son would want me to reach out and grasp and share." 

Bedingfield lost his son two years ago to an overdose.

"The first time he attempted to use after being clean for that amount of time, he unfortunately got fentanyol instead of heroin and killed him instantly."

One of the largest pieces of legislation having an impact on the epidemic passed last year. It's called the mandatory monitoring program. It limits the possibility of patients doctor shopping. Another bill requiring prescribers to recognize signs of addiction.

Governor Henry McMaster presented Bedingfield with the Order of the Palmetto Award last Wednesday. The governor tweeting: "his service to the state, and his perseverance through personal tragedy to help lead the fight against the opioid epidemic is an inspiration to us all." 

"Its been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to have the opportunity to serve my fellow citizens," Bedingfield said. 

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