Police working to curb drug overdoses as numbers continue to climb
This year, through June 16, there have already been 101 calls.
GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - As the number of drug overdoses continues to climb, there is cause for concern in the city of Gastonia and Gaston County.
“Officers are pretty much turning it (drugs) in daily in our property room that they’re seizing off people they’re arresting,” said Sgt. John Terry.
Recently, the Gastonia Police Department launched a campaign, alongside the Gaston County Police Department, the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, the Gastonia Fire Department, Gaston Emergency Medical Services, and the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office to help combat drug-related overdoses and deaths.
Police say they’ve determined fentanyl mixed with various drugs, such as cocaine, are the reason for the increase.
“We’ve seen it from the higher end neighborhoods to the lower end, economic basis,” Terry said.
In 2020, Gastonia police received 49 overdose calls. Out of those, 20 were deadly. Last year, there were 83 calls with 20 also deadly.
This year, through June 16, there have already been 101 calls. In 15 of them, someone died.
Police say people are often buying and using drugs that aren’t what they appear to be.
“We’re seeing a lot of, for instance, like there was a little blue pill, it was Oxycontin. It had 10 milligrams of Oxycontin, when we would send those off to the lab, they were coming back 100 percent fentanyl,” Terry said.
As far as the mental toll on officers, Terry says seeing the number of overdoses does make an impact.
“It does take a toll on you. You just have to learn as an officer how to separate work from your personal life,” he said.
If you are in need of treatment, help is available here.
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