‘It is affecting more and more people’: Sheriff’s Office seeking federal funds to help fight overdoses

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:31 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Greenville county saw more than 200 overdose-related deaths in 2021 and this year, it’s on track to surpass that number. The majority of overdoses continue to be Fentanyl related.

The Sheriff’s Office is hoping to crack down. They’re applying for two federal grants to help address the drug crisis. But, an investigator says the challenge goes beyond what money can buy.

“Some days, there are several and other days there are hardly any,” said a Investigator with the GCSO Drug Enforcement Unit.

Due to ongoing investigations, he didn’t want to be identified in this interview.

“It is affecting more and more people,” he said, referring to drug overdoses and poisonings.

“They may believe that they are just getting Oxycontin or Roxy’s or something like that. and they unfortunately find out too late that that is not what they were given” he said.

Pills and drugs laced with Fentanyl are still the leading cause of most overdoses in the county. The unit hopes a new detection system will help find it.

“Just being able to have a quicker recognition of what the substance found on scene actually is” he said.

The $68,000 portable system would detect not only Fentanyl, but other dangerous drugs. which would also speed along investigations. The investigator says holding dealers responsible for overdose deaths is another hurdle.

“We don’t have a law for that and that does cause issues sometimes” he said.

South Carolina does not have a law related to drug induced homicides. Which could lead to harsher penalties for drug dealers. The investigator says sometimes that makes penalizing dealers more challenging.

“But along with the increase of the overdoses we have also significantly increased our arrests related to those cases”

The sheriff’s office is applying for another grant worth $1.5 million. This one would provide deputies with Narcan, create an overdose database with the coroner’s office, fund a case manager on staff with the sheriff’s office to connect people to local recovery programs among other things. We’ll let you know, if the grants are approved.