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Spartanburg Coroner: Overdose Deaths Spiking Because of Laced Pills

Paul Taylor
Getty Images

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — One county in South Carolina is on track to see almost 60 more drug overdose deaths in 2021 than two years ago.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said the spike is in part because of what look like prescription or over-the-counter pills laced with heroin and fentanyl that people obtain illegally.

“There are pills coming into our country that look just like pharmacy pills that contain illicit drugs that are killing our people. They think they came from grandmother’s cabinet," Clevenger said at a news conference.

Spartanburg County investigated 36 overdose deaths in the first four months of 2021. The county had 85 overdose deaths in all of 2019, Clevenger said.

In just one week in April, the coroner said he investigated 11 overdose deaths with the dead ranging in age from 16 to 60.

“It used to be drugs bought off the street,” Clevenger said. “Now, illicit drugs have found their way in what most citizens deemed were safe by the way the pill looks, the shape, color and stamp from the pharmacy.

Deputies said they are trying to find the source of any pills laced with dangerous drugs' that cause overdoses, but often friend and family of the people who die don't cooperate with investigators.