Beaufort County on verge of an opioid crisis - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County on verge of an opioid crisis

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Three people overdosed in Beaufort County in just one weekend.

Now, law enforcement is looking to beef up their efforts so they don't have a repeat. They held a conference held Thursday afternoon looking at the problem and possible solutions. 

The Beaufort County Sheriff says the county is on the verge of an opioid crisis. At least four people have overdosed from the new synthetic formula Fentanyl hitting the streets.

Law enforcement, emergency services and the Department of Health are joining forces to stop the epidemic in its tracks. 

"Carfentanil,” said Renita Berry, Beaufort Forensics Lab. “It's one of the most dangerous ones because it's used to put down an elephant. So, if you have to give one shot for an elephant imagine what it does for a person."

Carfentanil is similar in a chemical compound to Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that's on the rise.

The first death related to the drug in South Carolina was reported in 2015 right here in Beaufort County.

"We've seen a big increase in Fentanyl deaths,” said Edward Allen, Beaufort County Coroner. “You take a look at just this past year to date we have had seven deaths and a three or four of them have been Fentanyl related."

An increase so big that the state has designated 3 million for at risk counties. 

"We will receive the training to use the Narcan kits, that's our first responders, our deputies, our police officers and then we want to take a regional approach where we do Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton and try to get all of us trained at one time," said Sheriff P.J. Tanner, Beaufort County.

Beaufort ranks 15 out of 46 counties in the state. 

"People are going out assuming that they're buying one drug and it's something else,” said Edward Allen, Beaufort County Coroner. “Fentanyl, we're looking at something that's 100 times stronger than heroin."

 “…this is not FDA certified so there's no one should feel comfortable with any of it, unless you pick it up at pharmacy or prescribed by a physician, why would you take it," said Sheriff Tanner.

The conversation ended with a few suggestions including making Narcan kits available for families who may be living with an addict and even a prescription drug drop box for unused medicines. 

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