New efforts to stop America’s opioid abuse problem
More people have died due to drug overdoses in the first four days of the New Year than all of December, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said.
Seven people have died from overdoses, likely on a fentanyl-base drug based on findings at the scene, Edge said.
“I certainly hope it doesn’t continue,” Edge said.
The recent overdoses have happened across Horry County. In December, there were about five fatal overdoses county-wide, Edge said.
One of the most recent deadly overdoses was in the City of Myrtle Beach. Officers went to Settlers Drive about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. There were 18 syringes, Suboxone, “white crystal-like rock,” drug paraphernalia and various other drugs at the scene, an incident report states.
The most recent deadly overdose within Horry County’s jurisdiction was New Year’s Day on Enterprise Road. After 20 minutes of fire rescue personnel administering CPR, the 57-year-old was pronounced dead, an incident report states. The victim’s wife said her husband used heroin and “any other narcotics that he can get his hands on,” the report states.
The uptick in fatalities could be caused by a bad batch of drugs, Edge said. There were 63 overdose deaths in 2018, and about 33 additional cases with toxicology results pending, according to the coroner’s office.
|Year||Overdose deaths in Horry County|
|2018||63 confirmed, about 33 pending cases|
Data collected by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows opioid-involved deaths increased more than 21 percent statewide in 2017 — from 616 in 2016 to 748 in 2017.
Horry and Georgetown counties bucked that trend, seeing a combined 29 percent drop from 128 opioid-involved deaths in 2016 to 91 in 2017, according to DHEC’s data.
According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one methadone clinic, the Center of Hope of Myrtle Beach, is operating in the Grand Strand area while 42 local medical practitioners are authorized to prescribe Suboxone.