Friday, October 20, 2017

A snapshot of the state's growing drug epidemic

“There wasn’t a crack problem until there was a crack supply.” That somber statement led off SLED Major Frank O’Neal’s extensive presentation at the Municipal Association’s fall forum for city managers and administrators.

O’Neal briefed the managers on the growing epidemic of drug use in South Carolina. “Price, availability and tolerance have increased prescription drug use,” he said.

Highlights of O’Neal’s presentation included:

 ·       Examples of “pizza style" delivery of heroin where a user calls a dealer and the drug is dispatched for delivery as easily as ordering a pizza.

·       It’s impossible for law enforcement and policy makers to stay on top of all the variations of news drugs flooding the market.

·       Gathering data about where the drug incidents are occurring is critical because law enforcement can’t deploy resources without knowing exactly where the problems are.

·       A $6,000 - $7,000 investment in heroin creates revenue upwards of $80,000. This is a lucrative business.

·       Ninety-two percent of heroin users first use marijuana.

·       Fifty-seven percent of people who use heroin first used opioids.

·       Eighty percent of new heroin abusers were prescription drug users.

·       Availability of heroin increasing because of a reliable low-cost supply coming from Mexico.

“The number one thing we can do to combat this epidemic is educate our kids,” O’Neal stressed at the end of his presentation. “If we are quiet, this epidemic won't go away.”

Get O’Neal’s Power Point presentation that includes more details about the increasing problem of drug use in South Carolina.

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