Georgetown County sheriff takes on opioid, fentanyl crisis

Georgetown County is holding a community forum its sheriff says is the first step in fighting rising opioid and fentanyl overdoses.
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 5:56 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2022 at 8:15 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - Georgetown County is holding a community forum its sheriff says is the first step in fighting rising opioid and fentanyl overdoses.

Sheriff Carter Weaver says navigating the opioid and fentanyl crisis in Georgetown County is an issue that will take the whole community to solve.

“I think it is the most important issue facing our residents now,” Weaver says. “Where else do you have a substance that will immediately kill you just from ingesting it or sometimes coming in contact with it?”

Weaver says the county has been seeing an increase in drug overdose calls. In 2020, the county had 127 calls for service, and 161 calls for service in 2021.

The county had 13 people die from drug overdoses in 2020 and nine people died in 2021. Already this year, there have been five overdose deaths.

“When you look at fentanyl, it’s being used as a drug but it’s more of a poison,” Georgetown County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission Executive Director Raphael Carr says.

Tuesday is the first of the two sheriff’s community forums this week, bringing together a panel of experts from healthcare, law enforcement, education and more to begin the discussion about the crisis in the county. Weaver says it’s just the beginning.

“It’s not fast food. We cannot solve this issue with one meeting, with one discussion, just like law enforcement cannot solve it by itself,” Weaver says.

The goal is to identify where the drugs are coming from, discuss numbers and trends and figure out where community leaders need to go from here.

There will be a sheriff’s community forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Georgetown. Anyone who lives there is invited to attend.